Almost daily we here about Christians around the world being persecuted for their faith in Christ. Unfortunately, we are only hearing about a tiny portion of all of the world wide suffering of the saints. Is this proof that Christians are weak? Absolutely not! Any coward can get in a large group with massive weaponry and terrorize the defenseless. Nor, does it take much courage to cower down and hide. However, the Christian who stands in faith knowing they can be killed, tortured, or victimized in a number of ways for their faith in my opinion is extraordinarily courageous. They are the perfect picture of strength and faith. Their courage doesn’t come from their own strength. Rather, it comes from their love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Are Christians being persecuted because God has forsaken them? Of course not! The Word of God promises that God will never leave us nor forsake us. In fact, the bible tells us that Christians will be persecuted. Jesus told us that the world will hate us because it hates Him. (John 15:18). Paul told Timothy in II Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” At the same time the Word of God gives us assurance that God’s blessings come to those who are persecuted. Jesus said in Matthew 5:10-12 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Let us not forget that Jesus Himself suffered greatly at the hands of wicked men as did all of the Apostles. And, we should not forget that Jesus died to ultimately put an end to all of the suffering this world offers. Romans 8:18 gives a comforting promise reminding us that this world is only temporary, but there is an eternal reward to come, stating, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
Jesus foretold that persecution and violence would increase just before His return. (Matthew 24:9). He also said many would fall away as a result. (Matthew 24:10). Today, in almost every nation, Christian persecution is greatly increasing; some nations are obviously much worse than others. What can we do about it? 1st if you don’t know Jesus come to know Him for His return is imminent. 2nd, we need to stand firm regardless of what persecution we may face. Jesus is worthy and God can and will use it as a bold witness. 3rd, we need to pray for our fellow brothers and sisters who are suffering for their faith.