I was thinking and reading about persecution this morning and am almost timid to write about it. In my mind, I think of persecution looking like other countries that would kill you for your faith or put you in prison for sharing the gospel. Somehow persecution for God has always felt distant and separate from me here in the states. In fact I am surprised when I encounter persecution here. "Isn't this America, home of freedom (freedom of speech, faith and belief)? We shouldn't have persecution here, that is one of the founding principles of our nation" or so I think.
But I was mulling over it more this morning and something occurred to me. In America, our current persecution may look a little different but we still have plenty. Satan is still trying to oust God's people from effectiveness by taking us out through marginalizing our faith in society, ousting us from places of power and influence, putting up walls of laws against us and tying us up in ourselves so that we miss the poor, weary and hurting around us.
We have some active examples of persecution right now. Take the Miss USA debacle going on with Ms. Prejean (learn more at http://www.citizenlink.org/videofeatures/A000009996.cfm) or the hate crimes legislation that is before the senate to prosecute those who might take a stand against certain sins and moral wrongs. These are persecutions that we are confronted with here on the home front and we have the opportunity to rise to the occasion or to drop off God's band wagon.Instead of being surprised or feeling put upon and astounded that we would be persecuted, God tells us that we should feel blessed because this means we are really one of his own. Especially as God's time line advances and the world progresses towards his grand conclusion, we will only see more persecution and confrontation. We must not be surprised when we encounter push back and must not give up hope. For our faith does not rest in legislation, power, approval of others or doing something "big". It rests in God alone and he is the one accomplishing any and all things through this world and through me!
So my honest feelings are a little dread and fear, "will I stand for him or fall for the world?" I am not looking for persecution but I don't want to run from it either. I don't want to stumble into self pity when it occurs either. I want to learn to praise and look for what I can do for God in the tough times, learn to make it about him and not about me! So like Paul said...
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20