I feel that people just getting to know Jesus or people desiring to be baptized or give their testimony for the first time ought to be warned: Friendship with Jesus, while extraordinary, is not easy. Whether Christians face more trials than people who do not follow Jesus, I dare not say; however, it should be said that enduring tough times come with the package of being a disciple of Jesus. The fact is: Satan is not very pleased with my decision to walk with Jesus, and he’ll find both blatant and subversive ways to distract me from my faith.
Biblical author James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” Notice he does not say, “Consider it pure joy if you face trials…” As brothers and sisters in Christ, it’s a matter of when – not if – we’ll experience tough times.
Some people leave it at that. Expect trials. Period. Deal with it.
But instead of a period, may I suggest a semi-colon?
The apostle Paul recognized that the church in Thessalonica was going through a tough time, so he sent his co-worker Timothy to them “to strengthen and encourage [them] in [their] faith.” Note how Paul says this within a breath of acknowledging that we are indeed destined for trials. Yes, trials will come; but I believe so will strength and encouragement. This strength and encouragement may come from the words and actions of a Godly person like Timothy or perhaps simply knowing deep inside that God is right there in the trial with me and you.
Now don’t say you weren’t warned… And given a promise.