“Luke, this is your destiny.” So said Darth Vader to his son Luke Skywalker, in the film “Star Wars.” But Luke resisted, somehow, that destiny. Christians also have a destiny, but this one can’t be avoided:
We sent Timothy, our brother and fellow worker for God in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen you and encourage you about your faith, so that no one would be shaken by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. For in fact when we were with you, we were telling you in advance that we would suffer affliction, and so it has happened, as you well know.
1 Thessalonians 3.2-4 NET
“Destined” (also ESV, NASB, NIV, NLT, NRSV) here is also translated as “appointed” in some versions. It comes from a verb meaning to lie, to lay, to set. When used of persons, to be specially appointed or destined. By this word, L.O. Richards says “that God has sovereignly determined beforehand that certain things shall come to pass” (Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, 501). Suffering affliction for Christ is one of those things.
If you choose Christ, you choose affliction. With the suffering Servant comes suffering for him. You must either embrace suffering for Christ or you must deny Christ. This is your destiny.
God above all, I accept your wisdom and the suffering of Christ. Be glorified in me and in my afflictions.
Hold this thought: To suffer shame for Christ, the Lord has said, / This is his glory, this is my daily bread.