Have you ever felt like you were under attack, being persecuted every which way you turned? Well, I began feeling that way from September 2013 through my present time of testing. However, I simultaneously sensed and saw God’s hand at work throughout my experience and so offer you this God positive perspective on persecution.
A PERSECUTION PERSPECTIVE
Persecution is defined by Merriam-Webster as – 1: the act or practice of persecuting especially those who differ in origin, religion, or social outlook; 2: the condition of being persecuted, harassed, or annoyed. In my observation and personal experience, I contend that sometimes life comes at us so hard and heavy we feel the weight and waver in our ability to endure and overcome. I further contend that God orchestrates the seeming affliction and persecution (because nothing can happen that He does not allow). Remember the story of Job. God volunteered Job for Satan’s test of his faith. I’ve seen hardship and calamity happening all around me in the lives of God’s people in this season. But again, my God perspective is that all life experiences come as a form of discipline to correct or mature, and is indicative of the Christian spiritual process of development.
(1 Peter 4:12-14) “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. If you’re abused because of Christ, count yourself fortunate. It’s the Spirit of God and his glory in you that brought you to the notice of others.”
(Hebrews 12: 4-11) In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.”
A PERSONAL PERSECUTION
I went for a physical exam in August 2013 and I am still dealing with health challenges that presented themselves. Then in September, I experienced a reoccurrence of a respiratory ailment after a four-year absence, which hindered me from fulfilling a short-term job assignment in October that I thought was God appointed. In January, my computer crashed without a recent backup of files and my website was down for a week when I transferred my web hosting plan and domain; mom suffered a stroke in February and congestive heart failure in March, propelling me into a parental caregiver role. And this, all while striving to build a sustainable home-based business. So, yes, I have been feeling the hand of persecution and struggling to stand up under it at times. Some days are better than others, but all days are good days in God as I weather the storm encouraging myself by encouraging others.
I stand on God’s word and rejoice in the fact that it is not as bad as it could be and what I’ve seen others experience. I am grateful for my little cross to bear; knowing that God won’t allow me to be overloaded with cares or be persecuted to the point of death like the disciples in the days of old had to endure. I believe that this too shall pass and I will emerge on the other side in victory and abundance. This is my God positive perspective on persecution.
Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10; “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” – Matthew 5:44
Jo Anne Meekins is the founder of Inspired 4 U Ministries and Inspired 4 U Publications; and an author, publisher, coach and speaker.