Dark Times for Christians. Surprised?

I believe the following parable is indicative of the times we live in, and yet it also provides some encouragement and hope for God’s children. Don’t mistake me for saying the parable was prophetic of the modern times we live in; I’m not implying that at all. It does, however, illustrate quite well the times we currently live in. The text comes from Luke 18:1-8:

And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man.” [Sound like a lot of people today? Especially in the court system?] “And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

I write this blog entry because of a friend of mine wrote a Facebook status a while ago that we shouldn’t be so surprised that the times we live in are growing dangerous for Christians, and neither should we be so surprised at the increasing rate of lukewarm Christianity (and false Christianity). I felt I should expand on this reality. But fear not, brothers and sisters, God hears our cries and He will answer our cries and exact His justice. Because of these increasing and coming persecutions, Jesus calls us to constant prayer, which is why He taught the above parable. The Lord heard the woman’s cries, and in time He answered her cries.

We should not be shocked by the immense aversion towards Christians today because of what Jesus said in John 15:18-25:

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have sen and hated both Me and My Father.” [In the context, Jesus is talking about the Pharisees here, but is it not indicative of all unbelievers? Because of Jesus’ works and because of God’s Law, we know what sin is and that Jesus calls us to repentance from our sins, as well as forgiveness for them. And unbelievers hate God because their sin is revealed, whereas they’d rather live a life without being aware of their enslavement to sin.] “But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated Me without a cause.'” [Psalm 35:19; 69:4.] “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.” [Look at ISIS and others in the past, for example.] “And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor Me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.”

Additionally, 2 Timothy 3:12-13 says, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” Do not be so surprised. We were warned of the increasing persecution and false doctrines thousands of years ago. But remember, take comfort in Jesus’ words, “Will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily” (Luke 18:7-8a). Consider also what St. Paul wrote in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” You might say, “Easier said than done.” But think long and hard about this. As Christians, we have an eternal comfort that unbelievers do not have—the return of Christ. The return of Christ means “He will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). That’s what the coming of Christ means for us Christians! For all eternity! So the sufferings we endure now for a couple years or decades is literally nothing compared to the glory of Christ that will be revealed to us when He returns. Lastly, meditate on and pray this psalm. It is one of my favourite psalms to meditate on when I suffer. It is Psalm 23:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Amen.

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