Ladies, one of the most difficult things for people to comprehend, Christians and non-Christians alike, is how God allows so much suffering in the world. And in a time when persecution of Christians, especially by terror organizations such as ISIS, is taking place, many of us are asking: Why? Why would God let this happen? Why would He not stop it?
In order for us to truly see the reasoning behind all of this, we have to realize that when God created us, He gave us all free will. With this free will, we’re given the choice to love and to hate, to do good and to do evil, and unfortunately, the latter is where persecution comes from.
The Bible mentions persecution a lot! Why? God knew that with sin comes the evil of persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12 reads, “Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Jesus Himself was persecuted and tortured. And He suffered greatly for us. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells us, “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you.”
Through the many verses in scripture, we are offered a form of comfort and a reminder that not only will persecution happen, but there is also a way to endure it. Scripture makes it clear that God expected persecution. He knew that when sin entered the world with Original Sin, it would lead to more and worse sin.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you. (1 Peter 4:12-14)
Let’s also remember that all good things come to those who love the Lord. Even when it comes to persecution. Jesus tells us in the Gospels, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
But even though a light is offered in the midst of suffering, it’s not always easy to see Truth. In the depth of great suffering, loss or persecution, we’re not always open to reminders that we’ll be rewarded in Heaven or that suffering is somehow a good thing, in a roundabout way. Really? And when we pray for relief and none comes, we wonder if God really loves us.
However, it takes a deeper sense of understanding, in moments of reason, to recognize that even with sin such as persecution, there is still hope. God is still with us.
God is ready to fill us with His Grace, so that we can better endure the pain and suffering that our unjust world puts us through. And ladies, let’s remember too that we live in an unfair world, created by unfair men who use their free will to do bad things. But in Heaven, there is justice and Jesus will return and right all wrong.
So, since God allows persecution because it’s willed freely by evil men, what are we to do about it? How are we to respond?
Consider the following:
- Remember that, like all suffering, persecution brings us closer to God. Not only are we sharing in the suffering of Christ, but suffering also makes us stronger Christians.
- Our faith is tested when we’re persecuted. For those who are persecuted, we should pray constantly for them. We should pray not only that God have mercy on them, but also that He instills within them a strength to endure the persecution. We should also pray for the persecutors. Jesus directed us to in Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” We should pray that God open the eyes of those who persecute, so that they see the truth in their actions.
But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated. (1 Peter 3:14)
Ladies, persecution, along with all suffering, is not easy to understand in a world created by a good and loving God. But God is just that. He is good and He loves. He has no hand in persecution. It is His gift of free will that gave man the choice to love or hate. And it’s with our free will that we decide to stand strong in the midst of persecution, holding tightly to our faith, praising His Name always and calling out to Him for strength and mercy. God sees all and He hears our prayers.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. (2 Corinthians 4:8-12)
Ladies, persecution comes in all sizes. Have you experienced it as a Christian?