Challenges are not new to God’s people. Hardship. Opportunists. Experts. False teachers. Even persecution. After all, this should not surprise us.
“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:6-9
That about sums it up, doesn’t it?! We are not even supposed to be surprised (1 Peter 4:2).
So here we are, in the middle of a global “war” as far reaching as any in history. Hundreds of thousands dead or dying. Division at unprecedented levels. Impotent leaders consulting with themselves and denigrating the help of our Creator. Hope is in short supply.
While with some of my wiser friends the other night we spoke about the pressures we are seeing upon ourselves and the people around us. This conversation was framed by Hebrews 12:3: “For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Do you ever feel this way?
Weariness results from facing apparently unsolvable issues. We noted the never-ending nature of the current conflict. No resolution regarding the “science.” Nothing but bad news with regard to the “next strain.” And on and on.
This results in a cloud of discouragement, not to mention driving people into camps. The sheer weight of processing these events – along with the fanciful God-free pursuit of solutions – weighs us down.
Add to this the obvious spiritual battle which gets no press in our misguided media and no acknowledgement from our leaders. We are witnessing a breath-taking onslaught against the truth and the propagation of lies is unprecedented. The teachings of demons are everywhere.
“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron…” – 1 Timothy 4:1,2
The relational toll is staggering, and the temptation to be hands off and give up is massive. It is difficult to be on the same page with others. Consensus escapes us. Accusations are rampant. Immature responses push us into corners. Division reigns.
What to do with one another?
“Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.” – 1 Corinthians 1:10
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:32
What to do with ourselves:
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
– 1 Peter 5:6-11
Selah friends. God is near. After all:
“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He Who is coming will come, and will not delay. But my righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” – Hebrews 10:35-39
Suffering with you in hope,