People have often asked me how I felt being a double minority in the engineering field. This question makes me laugh, because in reality I felt just fine, in fact it was great. It's my belief that the more people doubt you, the more opportunity you have to prove them wrong. It's like the short guy that wins the dunk contest, the victory is sweeter when it's unexpected.
This is how suffering works. Every trial that we go through is an opportunity to praise God. Don't believe me? Well let's look at the story of Job. Job probably suffered the greatest downfall in history, besides Jesus of course. Job lost all of his kids, his possessions, his status, and even his health. He was mocked and ridiculed and endured great suffering. We would expect Job to give up; to be bitter and hateful toward God. But Job responded by saying, "Though He (God) slay me, yet will I trust Him." This bold confession completely disarmed Satan. Can you imagine a crowd of nonbelievers witnessing this? Everyone would want to know about the God that was able to deliver such comfort in the midst of such distress.
Similar opportunities are occurring everyday. How do we behave when we find ourselves in tough situations? What do we do when we are ridiculed, we lose a job, or we get a bad diagnosis? Do we respond with anger, confusion, and stress like the rest of the world? Or do we let the peace of God rule, rest, and abide within us. I'm going to tell you that if you respond like the rest of the world, nobody's going to care what you believe. The only thing you are glorifying is the situation that has you bound. But if by chance you take hold of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) that are within you and refuse to give into the temptation of despair, the world will take notice.
I just finished a book entitled Tortured for Christ. It is an absolutely beautiful book and they will send it to you free at http://www.persecution.com/. In the book the author talks about Christians suffering under the Nazi and Communist regimes. The author himself was imprisoned and tortured for 14 years. I've known about this book for a while, but refused to read it because I did not want to be depressed or upset. But one day it showed up in my mail (I don't remember ordering it, but there it was) so I decided to read it. Amazingly, instead of being depressed I found myself overwhelmingly inspired. The book was not what I expected. True enough the Christians in this book worshipped God with their lives, even unto death, but what really stood out about them was their Christ like love. Can you imagine praying for the person that beat, cut, burned, and drugged you--the person that ridiculed you and caused your family to suffer and starve? Well this is what the bible calls for us to do. Matthew 5:44-45 says,"I (Jesus) tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven." Why would Jesus ask that of us? Because it makes us different from the world. The love of the Christians in Tortured for Christ was so bewildering that it caused many people to convert on the spot. Their witness was so strong, that even Communist leaders confessed Christ on their death beds.
Many of us love the scripture, "All things work together for the good of those who love Christ (Romans 8:28)." I admit it is one of my favorites. But I am now realizing, that this verse is much more than I thought it was. The verse says things work together for the good of those who love Christ--those--plural. That means this is not just about me. Let's look back at history. 11 of the 12 disciples were martyred. They were killed because of their love for Christ. Now must of us would say that it doesn't sound like things worked out for their good, but look what happened. Their willingness to die confident in their faith convinced many people of its truth. Most of us aren't willing to give our life for the truth, so we surely aren't going to suffer and die for a lie. Yet these disciples were crucified and beheaded for their beliefs and never wavered in them. Because of their sacrifice other people were inspired enough to give their lives to protect, preserve, and declare the Word of God, that we may believe it and be inspired today.