The fate of the persecuted church, and what they must endure in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, is horrifying.  I was researching current events regarding our brothers and sisters in Christ and my heart went out to the suffering saints. 

I was filled with a mixture of emotion: sorrow for the pain inflicted upon them; grief and anger regarding the suffering of children; gratefulness that I am spared at this moment in time, but guilt about this also.

It seemed so unfair that others were suffering when I was not.  I felt like I had no right to be called a christian being not faced with what persecuted Christians face every day.

At this thought I began to worry.  Worry for those suffering for Him, but also worry about my own faith.  I love God, only want for Him, seek Him constantly, and yet, here I sit, comfortable, safe, fed and loved.  Who am I that I should declare loyalty untested?

I believe these are the last days, I believe end times are all but upon us, and I believe each one of us who profess Jesus as our Lord will face our time of persecution.  I believe it is coming.  In my heart I feel strong to cling to Him and stand in the midst of trials like we, in the west, have only heard about.  But really, only time will tell how strong we are when it is upon us.  May His face shine on me in such an hour.

Anyway…the worrying had begun.  I contemplated talking to my husband about it, but knew his compassion would be barely existent.  He would simply tell me “not to worry about it”.  So, I took the matter to God. 

With a heavy heart I told Him I didn’t think it was fair that others had to suffer when I did not.  I told Him of my fear of my own response to future persecution.

Immediately I knew God’s word in my heart…hearing from God so clearly brought me to tears.  He said:

“Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” Matt 6:27.  I was amazed at this response.  My husband would have said the same, but with God it was loving, compassionate and warm.  I was a reassured of His control over all things.   I was assured that God decides the time of our birth and where we will live, whether in the west or the east, north or south.

“Pray for those who persecute you.”  Matt 5:44.  This made my heart race.  I knew this scripture, but at this moment, I knew that this was God’s will regarding my concerns.  God didn’t say, pray for the persecuted (while we MUST, I know) but He said, pray for the persecutors!  I looked up the scripture and discovered that not only are we to pray, but we are to love them! 

His words dropped into my heart.  At that moment I understood

“Jesus loved us while we were yet sinners” Romans 5:8.

We too are called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  It is in this, that we display the character of Christ as He suffered even to the death of the cross.  I saw Jesus love for me and how I had been no different in God’s eyes to “the persecutors”, but am now restored by His suffering.  Praise be to God!

I am no longer worried.  Humbled again by His grace and wanting Him all the more.  My heart now also goes out to those who are lost in darkness, to the point where they are trying to extinguish the light.  I pray that God will indeed become light to their eyes and bring repentance and healing to their hearts.

What a privilege it is to hear from God so clearly and so lovingly.  He has comforted me in such a real way that I am encouraged to seek Him and His close presence all the more.  My heart is overwhelmed with gratefulness and love and joy and yearning for more of Him.

I feel like I’ve had a visit from The King – what an honour!

C.

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