My father Claude A. Williams Jr. was remarkable in his care for his second wife Millie. After my mother died in 1995, dad was very lonely. After a year and a half he married Millie. It was a “senior” wedding—he was 69 years old.
Dad and Millie in November, 2005
But Millie showed signs of dementia from the beginning. Later she was diagnosed with full-blown Alzheimer’s disease. The manifestations were brutal: outbursts of anger, loss of control in public places, unpredictable mood swings from happy to suicidal threats.
Throughout their 13 years of marriage, dad remained faithfully dedicated to this second marriage, even though some would call it abusive at times due to Millie’s disease. What was strange was the fact that dad was probably the best thing that ever happened to Millie. She was not very close to her children and had very few other friendships. If not for him, she could be a virtually abandoned spinster left to the system.
Dad considered care for Millie his calling in the final years of his life. Literally. So he endured the suffering with heroic determination and patience. I still shake my head in amazement.
Of course, dad was not the only one to suffer for doing good. Biblical history is full of examples:
Moses’ leadership was questioned and threatened multiple times by the people he led to freedom from slavery in Egypt.Gideon, after a great military victory, was “accused fiercely” by those he didn’t invite to fight with him, (see Judges 8:1).
Jeremiah spoke God’s words and his reward was to be thrown in a pit where he sank down into the mud and was left to die, were it not for intervention by the king, (see Jeremiah 38).
David was the greatest military general in King Saul’s army, yet because of Saul’s jealousy he relentlessly pursued David, seeking to kill him.David’s own army threatened to kill him after a defeat at Ziklag, (see 1 Samuel 30:1-6).
John the Baptist was beheaded for his ministry of preparing the way for the Messiah. Jesus called him the greatest man who ever lived, (see Matthew 11:11).
The Lord Jesus died for the sins of the world, including those who tortured him to death.
The Apostles all died for spreading the Good News about salvation through Jesus.
When Paul and Silas freed a demon-possessed girl, their reward was to be beaten with rods and thrown in prison with their feet in stocks, (see Acts 16:16-24).
Hebrews 11 contains a long list of martyrs who were tortured and killed for doing God’s work.
Are you convinced?
If not, just keep reading Scripture and you will see that “suffering for righteousness’ sake” (1 Peter 3:14) is a recurring theme.
Confusion comes from those who seem to believe and teach a “health, wealth and prosperity” Gospel, claiming that every Christian will be healthy, wealthy and problem-free. It is an appealing offer, especially in developing nations that look at more prosperous “Christian” nations and desire the same.
But that is not the promise of God. In fact, Jesus said, “in this world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33).
So what should you do when you suffer for doing good?
01. Continue to thank and praise God.
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT)
02. Know that God has a bigger plan and your difficulties are part of it.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 ESV)
03. Remember that this life is just a temporary stopover in the scheme of eternity, and that trials are momentary.
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” (2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV)
04. Continue to serve faithfully (like my dad did).
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 ESV)
05. Praise God even for the suffering.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” (James 1:2 ESV)
06. Expect to see God eventually “even the score”.
“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled.” (1 Peter 3:14 ESV)