"I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:44 NRSV)
Jesus said to his disciples: "They will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them."

Jesus doesn't sugarcoat what lies ahead, but he gives meaning to it. You will be persecuted, he is saying, but God will use your experiences to bring others to the faith. Whether this made Jesus' followers feel better or not we do not know. But at least they saw that even though their life would be rough, it was part of a larger context, and that no matter what happened to them, God could use their sufferings in a positive way. God doesn't cause heartaches, but God can always use heartaches to God's glory and to our best good.

Dear God, may the challenges I face bring me closer to you and honor to your name. In Jesus name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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