The Christian life is cruciform. Even though we teach that Jesus has come to give us life and that to the full (John 10:10, cxref. John 17), it looks to all the world like we are being crucified and killed just as Jesus was.
The daily life of the Christian is a life of suffering under the reality of sin (both in our own lives and in the world). But the Christian endures this suffering with the certain trust that we have a blessed future – a future that was secured by the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 23:43).
Christians around the world undergo persecution and even die because they exercise their faith.
Those who teach that Christianity is about health, wealth and prosperity in this life have never read Jesus words, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) and, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed [kept/treasured] my teaching, they will obey [keep/treasure] yours also.” (John 15:18-20)
These and many other words of Jesus point to the fact that the lives of His followers in this world will be full of sorrow and trial. We groan inwardly to be rid of our own sinful desires and the world that rejects the free gift of salvation in Jesus hates us and seeks to destroy us because the One who saved mankind from sin through His own sacrificial death has chosen us for eternal life.
But we do not lose hope and we do not shrink away from the faith or water it down. Instead, we endure the suffering that comes our way as we continue to look to Him for help, hope and strength. And He gives us such help, hope and strength as He gives us faith to receive from Him the gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation poured out on us in the Word and Sacraments.
Please pray for our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who refuse to seek peace and comfort from the things of this world. Pray that through His Word and Sacraments, our Lord would keep them trusting in their Lord and Savior so that they would receive the crown of Life that He has purchased and won for them by His death and resurrection.