Many believers think that once they become followers of Jesus that nothing unpleasant will ever happen to them. They feel that God will shield them from anything that might hurt or be painful if they always obey Him. Gods Word and the rest of history shows that this is not so. History is filled with the names of those who suffered unspeakable thing because of their refusal to deny Jesus. Foxes Book Of Martyrs records many who were tortured and burned alive for their faith in Jesus. Thr truth is that if we live a life that is obedient and faithful to Him we will suffer.
In this passage from II Corinthians Paul gives a list of things that he had suffered. Stonings, beatings, shipwrecks etc. all because he was obeying God. If Paul suffered such things we should not be surprised when we suffer as a result of obeying God as well. We may never be stoned but our careers may suffer as a result of our refusal to compromise Gods will. We may never be beaten but we may be deserted by friends and even family because we refuse to follow them into sin. This is still suffering for the cause of Christ and requires much faith to remain obedient to Him in the face of such treatment.
Here in America we do not face things like execution for our faith, but in countries such as Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq believers face horrible suffering for their faith. Murder, rape, and torture are commonplace in other countries. In these countries believers pay a heavy price for their faith. I thank God it is not like that here.
But we must remember that as we suffer for our obedience God is with us. We are not alone. He will comfort us and strengthen us. And He has promised in His word that the sufferings that we face now are not worthy to be compared to the reward that awaits us in Heaven (Romans 8:18).
It can be upsetting when we do our best to live obedient to Him and suffering still comes our way, but remember Jesus was perfect and look at all of His suffering. We are no better than Him. but we also must remember that God loves us, He is with us and as we suffer He will help us. And never forget that an eternal reward awaits us in Heaven. Knowing this and that we are suffering for our Lord Jesus will help us to bear it.