As we restarted our series on Grace and Truth this week, we focused our attention on the grace of endurance. With the backdrop of our current situation, Chet urged us to see persecution (in all its forms) as a kind of blessing.
That verse in Psalm 119 came to mind: “It was good for me when I was afflicted, so that I might learn your decrees.” (vs. 71). Most believers would dismiss that concept pretty readily. No one wants to embrace pain or challenges.
But the psalmist was onto something important. He realized that our Christian walk needs an attitude adjustment every now and again. Normally, we have so much, enjoy such abundance and wallow in our blessings, and we forget what it might be like to experience a loss.
We might lose a job or have to grapple with a horrible disease. We might be confronted with the reality of a broken marriage or a child’s rebellion. Or in our current situation, we might be forced to deal with the reality of a world-wide pandemic.
Suddenly, we have a perspective changer. All at once, we have time and energy for something besides the pursuit of self. And in that moment, we can and should start thinking of others. That was the application of our message this Sunday. The grace of endurance can help us reach out and care for others.
We heard some about the persecuted church. Did you know that some 260 million Christians live in places where persecution is rampant? World-wide, that is the reality for one in every eight believers. Did you know that the worst country for persecuting Christians is North Korea and the second worst is Afghanistan? (For some current research take a look at persecution.com and opendoorsusa.org)
So, this week, let’s use our forced isolation as a chance to embrace this perspective changer. Let’s push past the irritations and inconveniences of our days and become informed about our suffering brothers and sisters.
Let’s pray specifically for a country, a people group, even a family who is under the extreme pressure of real persecution, remembering the words of 1 Corinthians 12:26: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it…”
Let’s use our “down time” to connect with others; next door, across town and around the world!
Sherry Worel is a Bible teacher at heart and lives a life of ministry. She’s been involved at Coast Hills teaching Women’s LIFE, Bible studies, online courses, devotionals, participating in Upstream conversations, and much more. Having a love for education, Sherry has over 50 years of teaching experience with schools, churches, and mission agencies. As well as earning her Master’s at Talbot Seminary, she rounded out her education with 35 years as Head of School at Stoneybrooke Christian School. Sherry is happiest with a book or fishing pole in hand.