Historically I go round and round in my own mind and heart with whether I will cave under the pressure of persecution. Denying Him has been my greatest personal fear- until Thursday. While I was praying through a message I’d be giving that night I was overwhelmed to once again be learning about who is in the midst. Unbeknownst to me students at a community college in Oregon were living it.
God and His children have always BEEN the targets of persecution and ridicule. We ARE currently throughout this world and we WILL BE up until that great day when He returns. The world may change, but He doesn’t. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. In peace time and war, in suffering or celebration, in life or death, in cancer or not, He is sovereign and all that is good and right. He is the light of the world so that there will be no darkness for those that follow Him, living water so that none will ever thirst.
When they looked into the eyes of depravity they were faced with deciding between light or dark, thirst or an eternal wellspring, Life with Jesus or a living hell- He was with them through that choice. He didn’t move in His position. He was with them. He provided. He saved them.
That’s who He Is. To the ones that chose Him…
And even the ones that denied Him. He sees their heart. Maybe they didn’t know Him until that moment. Maybe they didn’t believe until after they were shot. Maybe they will have to figure out how to live with the knowledge that they chose someone or something other than Him when it really mattered. One thing is for certain. He is still with them. He still provides. He will save them. He has always been GRACE. He has always been MERCY. He has always been, always is and always will be the most incredibly welcoming, comforting, forgiving, all encompassing LOVE.
God gave us a pattern. He had the ancient people live it, practice and repeat it. They documented it and passed it on so that we can live it, practice it and repeat it. Jesus came and fulfilled it. The same God that walked with the Israelites in the desert walks with me into my life every day. The same God that walked in the firery furnace walks with me through the burning desires of my heart. The same God that saved His people from slavery, from sins of all nature, from ourselves will walk right up to us and save us for all eternity. That’s His pattern. Live it, practice it, repeat it. It will surely hold true in the times in which we live and will get us through the times we have ahead. That is encouraging to me.
I don’t think I’ll struggle anymore with the idea of denying Him. I think I’ll choose joy. That’s what comes when you take your eyes off of all of the evil things that can and possibly will happen and set them on the One Who Can and WILL walk through it with us. There is such peace in being reminded that He Was (no matter what it looked like then), He Is (no matter what it looks like now) and He Is to Come (we can not even possibly imagine what that will look like- GLORY!!)
Nope. I can’t look down the barrel of a gun with hope and joy or withstand that fear. But I belong to the One Who Can.