That same day Pharaoh sent this order to the Egyptian slave drivers and the Israelite foremen: “Do not supply any more straw for making bricks. Make the people get it themselves! But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before. Don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy. That’s why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to our God.’ Load them down with more work. Make them sweat! That will teach them to listen to lies!” (Exodus 5:6-9)
Sometimes hardship comes as a result of obeying God. Moses and Aaron obeyed God and took their message to Pharaoh. Pharaoh responded with harder work and more oppression for the Hebrews.
We often wonder what we’ve done to deserve our own hardships. Typically, we look for something we’ve done wrong. But sometimes it’s not our own sins that bring us suffering. Sometimes it’s our obedience to God in a world running in the wrong direction.
Are you following God but still suffering—or suffering even worse than before? If your life is miserable, it may not be the consequences of your own sin but of others’ sins. Read 1 Peter 3:13-22, and ask God for the strength to persevere and remain faithful.
1 Peter 3:13-22 New International Version (NIV)
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[a]; do not be frightened.”[b] 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive,[c] he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.[d] It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.