When God’s Saving Work Causes Present Suffering

When God’s Saving Work Causes Present Suffering by Davis Wetherell for Servants of Grace

When I was eleven months old, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The doctors, at one point, told my parents my chance of recovery, of survival, was five percent.

Things progressed quickly, and I was soon headed for a bone marrow transplant, preceded by intense radiation treatment. I’m no doctor, but I understand this radiation treatment was meant to eliminate my body’s cells before the bone marrow transplant—there’s no point in adding good blood into a contaminated place. You need to wipe the slate clean.

And so, should I survive the transplant, the doctors gave my parents a list of developmental impediments likely to occur due to the death of these cells. On the list were stunted growth and infertility.

Should I be saved, my life would never be normal.

GOD’S MARK ON HIS PEOPLE

“If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” (1 Peter 4:14)

I don’t think this verse is saying Christians will be blessed after they are insulted for the name of Christ, but that they are blessed now, and can expect to be insulted for that blessing. The blessing of God “rests upon” us. It is external; it can be seen and observed by the world because of the transformative grace of God within the heart.

God has placed His mark on His elect, though it’s not like a tattoo or a birth mark, but instead it is the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). That’s the visible “Spirit of glory and God rest[ing] upon [us].”

And what do we get from the world in response to this love? What is the world’s response when they see our God-driven faithfulness, gentleness, and kindness? Sometimes, the response is wonder, interest, and conversion, but often it is ridicule. Don’t be caught surprised by what the Bible predicts:

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