Believers, in the United States anyway, seem to think that we won’t endure persecution. When it does happen we’re shocked. We’re outraged. I am as well. 19th Century British Preacher Charles H. Spurgeon thought differently (as did Jesus). Spurgeon in a sermon entitled “Consolation Proportionate to Spiritual Sufferings” given on March 11, 1855 said:
Soldier of Christ, if thou enlisteth, thou wilt have to do hard battle. There is no bed of down for thee; there it no riding to heaven in a chariot; the rough way must be trodden; mountains must be climbed, rivers must be forded, dragons must be fought, giants must be slain, difficulties must be overcome, and great trials must be borne. It is not a smooth road to heaven, believe me; for those who have gone but a very few steps therein have found it to be a rough one. It is a pleasant one; it is the most delightful in all the world, but it is not easy in itself; it is only pleasant because of the company, because of the sweet promises on which we lean, because of our Beloved who walks with us through all the rough and thorny brakes of this vast wilderness. Christian, expect trouble: “Count it not strange concerning the fiery trial, and as though some strange thing had happened unto thee;” for as truly as thou art a child of God, thy Saviour hath left thee for his legacy,—”In the world, ye shall have tribulation; in me ye shall have peace.” If I had no trouble I would not believe myself one of the family. If I never had a trial I would not think myself a heir of heaven. Children of God must not, shall not, escape the rod. Earthly parents may spoil their children but the heavenly Father never shall his. “Whom he loveth he chasteneth,” and scourgeth every son whom he hath chosen. His people must suffer; therefore, expect it Christian; if thou art a child of God believe it, look for it, and when it comes, say, “Well suffering, I foresaw thee; thou art no stranger; I have looked for thee continually.” You cannot tell how much it will lighten your trials, if you await them with resignation. In fact, make it a wonder if you get through a day easily. If you remain a week without persecution, think it a remarkable thing; and if you should, perchance, live a month without heaving a sigh from your inmost heart, think it a miracle of miracles. But when the trouble comes, say, “Ah! this is what I looked for; it is marked in the chart to heaven; the rock is put down; I will sail confidently by it; my Master has not deceived me.