From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Dr. Graham:
I became a Christian a few years ago and I thought my troubles would go away. Now that I have learned more from the Bible, I realize that being a Christian can add to our problems. During COVID-19 I have seen how the church has come under attack. Why is this?
Dear C.T.: It’s never easy to be a Christian; it can bring its own loneliness, unpopularity, and problems. It’s human nature to dislike, resent, or regard with suspicion anyone who is “different.” This is one of the great problems today. Tribal differences, class differences, ethnic differences, and cultural differences separate people. Such differences often lead not only to misunderstanding, but to war.
In A.D. 64 there was great persecution of Christians in Rome. The Apostle Peter spoke about the intense fiery trial shortly to come upon the church. The popularity of evangelical Christianity in America may be short-lived. The Bible teaches, and history confirms, that the church can be strengthened when it goes through the furnace.
When the Christian brings the standards of Jesus Christ to bear upon life in a materialistic and secularistic world, it is often resented. Because the moral and spiritual demands of Jesus Christ are so high, they often set the Christian “apart.” This can bring about suffering, fear, and even persecution. One of the answers to the “why” of suffering is given in the Bible: “For a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7, NIV). This is the key to understanding trouble that comes to Christians — to bring honor and glory to God.