“And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Timothy 3:12, NASB
Strange dreams have entered my sleep the last few days. Some have been downright odd and amusing, but the one this morning greatly disturbed me. Though I can’t remember it exactly, I do recall waking in the dark with a tangible sense of dread. In my gut. The uncanny feeling that persecution is coming–that it will affect me personally–filled me with fear.
Perhaps this fear emerged into my sleep because I read a news headline containing strong words from Franklin Graham. He warned Christians in America that persecution is coming … here. Scaring me deep into my being, I fear for myself and even more for my children. Evil seems to increase with each passing day. Anxiety within grows as I consider the reality of suffering for Christ at others’ hands.
Scripture clearly pairs persecution with Christianity. I’ve pondered how 2 Tim. 3:12 applies to me because of all the freedoms and blessings I enjoy in America. God’s people throughout the world suffer immeasurably, but their experiences remain news I hear or read about. Honestly, I can’t say I’ve ever been persecuted.
But I’m not supposed to fear it. Maybe God is preparing me, however, so I’ll be ready when the time comes. Understanding the Greek word dioko, which is translated persecution in English, helps me. According to the Blue Letter Bible, it refers to the following:
- to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away
- to pursue (in a hostile manner)
- in any way whatever to harass, trouble, molest one
- to be mistreated, suffer persecution on account of something
All of those definitions sound horrible. But just now as I typed, the last four words clicked: “on account of something.” Of course, when God brings persecution my way, it will be on account of JESUS–my beloved Savior and Lord. Grasping this truth comforts me.
Dear friend, we won’t suffer without cause. Our pain won’t be worthless. Bearing the name of Christ is of inestimable value, and “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).
Thanks for joining me in sorting out my thoughts. Surely Christ will never leave or forsake us (see Heb. 13:5). Whatever form of persecution God brings our way–whether it involves ridicule, troubles, or physical harm–God is with us. As we trust in Him, He will enable us to stand firmly for His glory. And that’s my heart’s desire.
No. Matter. What.