Hello, brother or sister MBB. Some advice and a few thoughts to encourage you to keep going:
When you want to know how much God loves you, look mainly to the Bible and ask God to reveal His loving nature to you. If you look only to people in the church, you run the risk of allowing their treatment of you negatively influence your view of God. God is completely good and is fully for you. In the church, you can have both good and bad experiences. While many will treat you well, please remember that those that don’t are, like you, still growing. Keep loving them and forgive them as you’ve been forgiven.
The main thing to focus on is loving God and following Him. While it may seem strange and unfamiliar, you are a member of His family. Your relationship with Him is deeply personal, and He calls you His friend. That is not a distant friend, but one in His innermost circle — all because of Jesus Christ.
About those things that you have suffered and lost, in a strange way those things are a gift. It is very difficult to know Him fully when holding on to our lives to protect them. Persecution and loss, as you well know, causes us to either let go and seek Him or cling even more tightly to our lives. The latter leads to falling away from God — a bad choice. It is much better to keep going, face the pain and seek Him even more. In my life, and in the lives of the many MBBs I have talked with, growth in Him accelerates in the tough times. Amazingly, we all noticed something else — a deep sense of God’s presence and His peace. Peace may not have been there every second, but the best way I can describe it is that we all had a prevailing peace. Keep going — it is so worth it to get to know Him better.
There’s something to be aware of and look for — joy. Joy isn’t ordinary happiness. It is way beyond that. God promises us joy when we are in His presence. Joy is the secure knowledge and contentment that comes from being loved unconditionally by God in Christ. That joy is there even in the midst of suffering, and remains in good times. Keep looking to God, expecting His help and His inexplicable joy.
Keep looking up to where your help comes from. He will help you. He will bring you through, and the enemy cannot defeat you. Even if the enemy kills you through people, you go to heaven. You will be there because you followed the only way to get there — Jesus Christ, our Lord.
It’s strange that the thought of dying can comfort, but it can if I, or you, view it as a good thing. We get to be with God. Death is seen by many to be awful, the worst that can happen. For Christians, even the worst is good (though we are not to seek our own deaths). Knowing that makes even the worst situations easier to deal with. It makes it easier to keep going.
Keywords: MBB, encouragement, persecution, joy, worth it, heaven