“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” (1 Cor. 10:11)
Not just in what to do and what not to do, but what will come upon us, and when it does, what our response, what our reaction is to be. If the Lord has decided for you to serve Him in prison, then you must associate yourself with those who served Him before who were also placed behind bars. If you are confined to a sick bed, if you are poor, disabled, it matters not your condition, current state, or how you came to be in it, there is an example in the Word of God of someone who was just like you are now, and you are to follow their example as they continued to serve the Lord God.
The words of Job come to mind, “What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10) The patience of Lazarus at the rich man’s gate, Paul in the prison houses, many times after he had been beaten. And they continued to serve.
Two verses again come to mind, “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (Gal. 3:6) And “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) The examples left for us are there to guide us into willing obedience out of a heartfelt desire to glorify God. As Jesus did, we are to do. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6)
The faith comes from, in part, the truths of the Word of God from those people who came before us, we trust that the Word of God is inerrant, that these people by faith “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Heb. 11:10) and by faith, and patient endurance, they obtained entrance into the presence of God and His eternal Kingdom.
I do not believe that enough people who claim Jesus Christ as Lord equate the word faith with patience, they may know of Luke 21:19, “In your patience possess ye your souls.” but they will not live in that patience which brings and allows us to continue in the faith that we have been blessed with. Abiding faith is not imparted in full upon the moment of our salvation, it must be nurtured, it must be tested, not so God will know where we stand, but so that we will. The realization of our need for more trust, more faith is many times brought upon by trials and tribulations, by what we perceive as problems, by those around us that do not serve the Lord Jesus Christ yet seem to be flourishing in the things of the world.
The test of our faith may lie right beside Job on that dunghill, it may be tested at midnight with our feet bound in the stocks, or sitting beside Lazarus waiting for some crumbs, or it may be watching many in the world have that which our flesh, our old sinful nature, still desires, the items of the world that are supposed to bring contentment, happiness and security.
There are examples for these in the Scriptures, and for every other one that you can imagine. These men and women of God existed, you will probably meet them one day, and with at least one of them, and perhaps more, you will have something in common to discuss. But there is something that everyone in heaven will have in common, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27)
We all carry a cross, in this life all who have been born-again carry that cross. The Lord Jesus can be our only example here, how He bare His is how we are to bare ours. “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
That is how you carry it, by submitting to the will of the Father for your life, by offering yourself as a living sacrifice, by following the example of the Lord Himself.
I ask you to consider this, all you who indeed have been born-again, that cross you are carrying, do you plan on being crucified upon it? Are you planning on giving your life, the entirety of your life in the service of the Most High? It is a question worth pondering. Have you been nailed to that cross yet?