Something to think about
24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 2 Corinthians 11:24-26 (NKJV)
Not for the timid Christianity is. If this was the picture of Christianity you were exposed to, would you have become a Christian? How is it we expect something better? We expect because of Christ we will be exempt from the tribulations of life. It is an unrealistic expectation when you realize Christ Himself was crucified. Christianity itself is an odd religion not because of what we believe but because of what we know.
We know our savior was crucified. We know that our leaders, particularly at the beginning of Christianity, met with untimely deaths. We know that throughout the history of Christianity it has been misused, misrepresented. We know Christians have been martyred. All in all, Christianity is not a religion you want to be a part of. To be a Christian is to be Paul, the writer of the above verse. Are you willing to suffer as Paul suffered for a man who was murdered on a cross? From all accounts on the surface, Christianity is not much to believe in we all die. We all abused, humiliated, despised, hated and ostracized, and yes some are martyred. If you look at this side of Christianity the apparent cost, you will not become a Christian. No person would choose to suffer for another person to this degree with no apparent upside. If all you were introduced to was the suffering of Paul and Jesus, you might feel compassion for them, but you would not join them.
Why then has Christianity proliferated throughout the ages? A promise and a proof. The promise is a life to come where all evil will be eradicated and will not touch your life. The evidence is in the resurrection of Christ. We willingly endure the suffering of Paul and the torture that may come into our lives because of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus is the living resurrected proof of the promise of eternal life. The promise exceeds the tribulations of this life. If you suffer like Paul and are killed like Christ, you have a promise of a better eternal life. The proof is not in an indecipherable concept it is in the reality of the resurrection. You don’t have to suffer like Christ though you may. To be a recipient of the promise, you only need to recognize the one who guarantees the promise.