One of the things that I would gladly welcome in the western church is the expectation of suffering. Most of our lives in the West have to do with alleviating it or avoiding it.
But not Paul.
Through Ananias, Jesus told Paul from the beginning of his life as a follower, "You will suffer for My Name" (9.16).
I am grateful for a God who loves us and I'm glad to talk about that. I'm grateful for a Lord who knows what He is doing and is in control and has all authority. I'm grateful for an Indwelling Presence that guides and reminds and convicts.
But I wonder what would be different today in my relationship with the Triune God if He had said to me from the first moment, "Hey Trent: you're going to suffer for My Name. I wanted you to know now so that it doesn't catch you off guard later."
I teach pretty regularly that we should expect it. The Bible certainly says that over and over again. I can say with honesty that when it does come along I'm not shocked. But my world is not full of personal suffering. I have, at least at this moment, some surrogate suffering to deal with in family members, friends, and folks at church. But I wouldn't classify my life as having suffered.
How would our following Jesus look different if every day we woke up and expected to encounter opposition for His Name and then lived accordingly?