Minister’s Message: When the going gets tough…

Suffering as a Christian is not always a popular preaching topic.

By Frank Alioto

Have you ever gone through a season or time in life when you felt that at each turn something just kept going wrong?

Maybe you have experienced health issues, a financial challenge, a failed relationship or a crisis of faith. You might even be suffering tough times when you “follow the rules” and others receive the praise or you go out of your way to help someone who then goes and blames you for their misfortune.

Most of us at some point can recognize when our own actions cause us pain, but what do we do when there does not seem to be a reason or source to blame for our troubles?

Suffering as a Christian is not always a popular preaching topic. It seems many would rather hear sermons about getting blessed or acquiring worldly wealth, but the Bible actually talks about suffering as being part of God’s redeeming plan for those who follow him.

In the Bible, one of Jesus’ disciples, Peter, wrote to fellow believers who were facing persecution for being followers of Jesus. Many had heard of Nero’s torturing of other believers and had fled Rome to live in Asia Minor as Christians throughout the empire were being slaughtered.

Peter wrote, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13).

Suffering can be a punishment or consequence of something you have done wrong, or it can be allowed by God to help grow a follower of Jesus in godliness.

Peter actually encourages believers not to be surprised of the hard tests they were facing. He even challenges them to take joy in hard times, as they are occasions to develop perseverance and even to reflect the glory of identifying with Jesus and his sacrifice for humanity.

Often surviving suffering is difficult enough, but choosing to be joyful is even harder. Those who follow Christ should expect trials as they serve as opportunities to grow into the person God has created us to be. Overcoming through suffering and tests will lead not just to eternal life, but also to living the best life now in your relationship with God.

Peter then gives followers the encouragement and the fuel for surviving hard times: “So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good” (1 Peter 4:19). When one keeps their eyes on Jesus and remains faithful in the midst of suffering, one then reflects the glory of God and He is praised through your life. In time God, your “faithful Creator,” will prove faithful as the plan for your life unfolds.

So as you follow Jesus, “when the going gets tough” keep persevering as you entrust yourself to the God who loves you and keeps you going!

Frank Alioto is the pastor of Roots Family Church in Soldotna (907-252-0036) and serves as a chaplain in our community.

More in Life

Minister’s Message: How to grow old and not waste your life

At its core, the Bible speaks a great deal about the time allotted for one’s life

Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura and Stephen McKinley Henderson appear in “Civil War.” (Promotional photo courtesy A24)
Review: An unexpected battle for empathy in ‘Civil War’

Garland’s new film comments on political and personal divisions through a unique lens of conflict on American soil

What are almost certainly members of the Grönroos family pose in front of their Anchor Point home in this undated photograph courtesy of William Wade Carroll. The cabin was built in about 1903-04 just north of the mouth of the Anchor River.
Fresh Start: The Grönroos Family Story— Part 2

The five-member Grönroos family immigrated from Finland to Alaska in 1903 and 1904

Aurora Bukac is Alice in a rehearsal of Seward High School Theatre Collective’s production of “Alice in Wonderland” at Seward High School in Seward, Alaska, on Thursday, April 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward in ‘Wonderland’

Seward High School Theatre Collective celebrates resurgence of theater on Eastern Kenai Peninsula

These poppy seed muffins are enhanced with the flavor of almonds. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
The smell of almonds and early mornings

These almond poppy seed muffins are quick and easy to make and great for early mornings

Bill Holt tells a fishing tale at Odie’s Deli on Friday, June 2, 2017 in Soldotna, Alaska. Holt was among the seven storytellers in the latest session of True Tales Told Live, an occasional storytelling event co-founded by Pegge Erkeneff, Jenny Nyman, and Kaitlin Vadla. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion file)
Storytelling series returns with tales about ‘making the most of it’

The next True Tales, Told Live will be held Friday, April 12 at The Goods Sustainable Grocery starting at 6:30 p.m.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes they come back

This following historical incident resurfaced during dinner last week when we were matching, “Hey, do you remember when…?” gotchas

Art by Soldotna High School student Emily Day is displayed as part of the 33rd Annual Visual Feast at the Kenai Art Center on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Creating art and artists

Exhibition showcases student talent and local art programs

The Canadian steamship Princess Victoria collided with an American vessel, the S.S. Admiral Sampson, which sank quickly in Puget Sound in August 1914. (Otto T. Frasch photo, copyright by David C. Chapman, “O.T. Frasch, Seattle” webpage)
Fresh Start: The Grönroos Family Story — Part 1

The Grönroos family settled just north of the mouth of the Anchor River

Most Read