My heart finds deep sorrow in the events around the globe, especially when it comes to persecution.
I’ve read of kidnappings, slavery, beatings, and murder all because these people will not deny Jesus.
Not long ago, I was deeply saddened to hear of a teacher whose personal convictions and commitment to Jesus cost her her job.
And when these stories of tragedy, pain, and loss come, I look to Scripture and find peace.
Matthew 5:10-12 NKJV — “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Jesus’s words bring clarity to these tragedies.
Although, our hearts should break for our brothers and sisters experiencing these afflictions, as followers of Christ, we should not be surprised.
Jesus spoke these words, because He knew something we often overlook.
From the beginning persecution has been a result of wickedness.
1 John 3:11-12NKJV — For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.
The Bible records many stories of those persecuted for their faith.
Acts 7:54-58 NKJV — When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
Nothing should surprise us when it comes to the children of God being persecuted for our faith.
After all, if they killed Jesus, why would we expect anything else?
The most wonderful and beautiful thing about it all is how God uses this persecution.
He chose to take the punishment of those who were persecuting Him and redeem them by His sacrifice.
If He can turn that into such an incredible blessing, He can use the tragedy today.
We may not see it.
We may not understand it.
But we can and should praise God through it all.
1 Peter 1:3-9 NKJV — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
For this world is not our home, this is not the end, it is our opportunity to testify of the greatness of God.
Praise the Lord!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for the truth of what we cannot see. You are both loving and righteous. You hold both judgement and mercy in Your hands. Lord, You know what is best and You are sovereign. Lord, please help us to look on the things in this life from Your perspective. Please help us to revere Your Word and to walk in Your truth. Lord, thank You for teaching us that persecution will come and although we may not understand everything, You do and You are working in it and through it. Thank You that we know what the enemy means for harm You can and will use for good. Lord, for those of us not experiencing persecution, please teach us to join with those who are in prayer and support as You provide the ability. Lord, please keep us from leaning on our own wisdom or understanding, for we are shortsighted. Thank You Jesus for being the reason we have hope, no matter the circumstance. I praise Your holy name, Jesus! Amen.