We whine and bemoan the loss of liberty and religious freedom in the USA and the West. And sure enough it is serious. Meanwhile Christians are being murdered daily on the African continent,* and in China Sabbath worship is outlawed and churches are bulldozed.
It is going to get worse in the West. Our persecuted brothers and sisters have a message and a witness for us:
“But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke” (Psalm 116:10). We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.” 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 NLT
Paul shared the same disposition to trust God during hard times as did the author of Psalm 116. Even when suffering brought the psalmist to the point of death, he still believed in God. Faith leads to proclamation regardless of circumstances. He knew that in physical death – when the house is torn down – believers would have the certainty of a resurrection body (the future building) that comes from God and lasts forever. And for a higher purpose: the ever-increasing thanksgiving directed toward God that magnifies His glory as more people respond to the Gospel.
What is our proper response to this today? Do all things to the glory of God. Give Him all praise and honor for the grace of His plan and providence. Pray for the persecuted church. Be in corporate worship today.
*Even while Believers in Africa are increasing at rates eclipsing anywhere in the free world.