Jesus promised us that we would experience sufferings, trials and tribulations in this world and that persecution and hatred for His sake was inevitable, because the world hated Him first. This is not the most cheerful thing to talk about, but Paul sure makes it sound good in Colossians 1:24-25:
“I want you to know how glad I am that it’s me sitting here in this jail and not you. There’s a lot of suffering to be entered into in this world—the kind of suffering Christ takes on. I welcome the chance to take my share in the church’s part of that suffering. When I became a servant in this church, I experienced this suffering as a sheer gift, God’s way of helping me serve you, laying out the whole truth.”
I don’t know that we suffer well as Christians these days. I am not so sure suffering looks the same as it once did when Paul so gleefully was taking it on in abundance as a gift and service to God and His church. Suffering in North American Christianity seems more theoretical at its worse and more like a “pot shot” from the world at its pettiest. It is like subtle rust that eats away at the welds of our faith. Do we even know how to suffer or are we just taking on “pot shots” with easy passivity in hopes to maintain our comfort level and peace and coexistence with all? Me, well, I like comfort and hate conflict.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary Online, a pot shot is a random or easy shot, or a criticism made without careful thought and aimed at a handy target for attack. The etymology of the word tells us that a pot shot is called this because such a shot is fired by a hunter whose main purpose is to get food for the pot. This is an act of desperation on the part of the hunter and the target of his aggression is more likely safe from harm than in the threat of harm.
She wanted to feel better. Like a hunger pain that was needing suppression, her hunger to feel better about herself or to feel justified or vindicated made her take the shot. I was making my purchase and out of nowhere she starts talking about how the crazy Christians are writing verses on the sides of the camping soap. It caught me off guard. “Wait a minute,” I thought, “I am a Christian,” but what do you say to that? Before I could say anything, however, it was “have a nice day,” and the damage was done. It was a direct hit. She had met her need and dinner was served, she was satisfied, her assumptions were assumed correct and the damage was done, the rust set in and the joint was weakened.
May the Lord grant us the strength, wisdom, courage, timing, clarity, and wit to suffer well for Jesus and His gospel.
Enduring the world’s “pot shots,”
Peterson, Eugene H.: The Message : The Bible in Contemporary Language.