I ran into a friend this morning and we got to chatting. At one point she mentioned the book of Daniel, and it reminded me of something I wrote back in 2015. After reading through it again, it seems even more applicable today and worth a repeat:
Yesterday a friend and I talked on Facebook about all the horrible things going on in the world. She commented, “Seriously I do wonder if we’re now living in the end times. The world is in a dreadful state and it is just getting worse.”
To which I responded, “I used to think that, but—at least from what I read—globally before and during WWII things were a lot worse.
“Some days I wonder why God is still waiting and wish he’d just end it already. Other days I’m grateful he’s not, because it gives everyone more opportunities to both spread and understand the truth.
“I feel selfish by wanting it to end, because it’s coming from a place of fear in that I don’t want to see my nation fall, or for my good life to end.
“I have to constantly remind myself that God is still in control. Even if there are hardships I can’t even imagine to come, I know eternity with God awaits me.
“I just hope I continue to have the wherewithal to show God’s love to others, but I sometimes (often) wonder why I bother since so many hearts are hardened against him.
“At least that’s how it seems. I could easily be wrong about that. I’ll never know when my words or deeds will influence someone the right way. Jesus didn’t give up; God hasn’t given up. Nor should I, because then I am no good to him or those who need him.”
I’ve heard a few people express concern that Christians are about to enter an era of persecution in Western countries including the United States.
I often wonder the same thing, especially recently, but then I thought, are trials and persecutions a bad thing—at least as far as the Kingdom of God is concerned?
In all instances when people or government tried to eliminate Christians and Christianity, they have instead resulted in explosive growth. Today, the highest percentage of Christian expansion is occurring in China and other oppressive regimes where it’s supposed to be illegal. Our country is also experiencing revival in spite of state and local governments shutting down or restraining churches.
It’s easy to stand with the faithless when they’re standing. Not so much when they all sit down. That’s when the faithful are noticed. It’s frightening to be singled out and take the risk of being vilified at best–killed at worst.
But that doesn’t mean we should sit down. It’s during the times when the faithless sit down that we must stand up taller. If we don’t, we show the world that we have fallen prey to our own fears; we prove our own faithlessness and even distrust of God’s promises.
After Nebuchadnezzar built his 90-foot-tall golden statue in the book of Daniel, all people from every nation were required to bow down to worship it. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused. They stood up when everyone else bowed. The king noticed and demanded they be thrown into a fiery furnace. Because of their faithfulness, the fires didn’t touch them, and the King and all his men bowed down to worship God.
Sure, their faith led them into the furnace, but it also led them right back out again.
I like to say God loves paradox. He uses our weaknesses to show his strength. He uses the darkest moments in our lives to reveal his grace, his love, and his promises.
He uses the world’s attempt to kill Christianity in order to further his Kingdom.
We must be part of that, otherwise our own faith is meaningless.
Therefore, do not be afraid of today’s or future trials and tribulations. Don’t fret about governments’ attempts at restraining or destroying the Church or our faith. Welcome them, because it’s at those times people will see Jesus most clearly. Our mortal lives and daily comforts should be the smallest price we have to pay to help accomplish it.