Is Suffering and Tribulation On the Way?
By Fred Pruitt
(A previously published post with new additions.)
Recently some of us received a communication from someone in an Islamic country in Asia, where Christians are under restrictions. In that country, as well as many others in the world, especially China, there is sometimes widespread persecution of Christians, who are often beaten, restricted, jailed and in some cases, murdered. These things for the most part do not happen in the western world, though many have been saying for years that those persecutions may even come the way of the western nations in a not-too-distant future. This below is part of my reply to our blessed brother.
Of all the things you said in yours, this one is the one that I was thinking even before I read it from you – “If we accept the single eye principle taught by Norman and others like him …. we need to accept that even in this the Lord is in control.”
Yes, exactly! Whatever will “happen” in the world, has been true since the foundation of the cosmos, and has nothing to do with nationalism, political party (there is no “God-party” folks, get over it!), debts, money crises, who is in “power,” etc., except as those things bring about the plan of God.
What has struck me, really only in the past few weeks so strongly, is how minutely God is “living” my life. It is so EASY to discount much of our lives, things we do and say, habits we have, etc., and not quite see them all as the Spirit’s doing. We are unconscious of the fact that sometimes in our “thinking” we seem to be hanging “out” by not aggressively acknowledging all our “ways” as the Spirit’s ways. (“In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Pr 3:6)
The Spirit has really brought this home to me the past few weeks. He has taught me by one experience after another, proving by grace that there is not one thing in my life that is not Him in expression.
In other words, He is in the minutest of details of my life, and He has PURPOSED EVERYONE OF THEM IN HIM for His glory! Everything! Remember, the “hairs on our heads” are numbered! Nothing about us is left out of Christ living as us. Nothing! …. NOTHING!!!
Now, if I see how from minute detail to minute detail He is “ordering the steps” of my life (Ps 37:23), then how much more (or just as much) we can see how He has ordered the Cosmos after the “counsel of His own will?” (Eph 4:11). There is NOTHING that falls outside that purview. Not even the minutest detail!
I love my country – USA – but I died to anything but Jesus a long time ago, and my concerns have nothing to do with the economy, the status of the USA in global economies, military firepower, who is President, whether we’re “first” in the world or “last,” or any other temporal concern. The failing world economies regarding who is in debt and who has the money to overcome, does not thwart the plan of God, but works IN it. Whatever pains may come, they work a far greater glory than the pains the precede it!
Since the Christian movement under the Communists in China has flourished under persecution — and persecution for your faith brings out the true proof of the pudding as far as who is Christ’s and who is not — then why should we fear persecution? Do we not remember His Promises?
While we in the US would love our constitutionally given rights of “freedom” of religion, assembly, press, etc., to continue unchanged, and Paul even exhorts us to pray for peace and order in the world and in our governments – not for the world’s sake, but for the furtherance of the Gospel – if those fail, should we despair?
Paul is also the best example of martyrdom as a gift of the Lord since persecutions happened anyway, despite their prayers, in the Roman Empire! The faith of Christ was vital and alive, as long as it cost something to be a part. However, once it became the “State” religion in the Roman Empire, it no longer cost one anything to be a Christian. From that point, it cost one to “not” be a Christian. And many things went horribly wrong from that moment.
“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Lk 6:26).
If we are to receive in this country such a trial-by-fire, it will bring out those who are willing to pay the price. The rest will scatter — even as the scriptures predict, that in the “last times” there will be a great falling away. This does not mean the real believers. This is talking about the “hangers-on” who stay at the door and never go through. Persecution will send them out away from those doors so fast there won’t even be any evidence they were there in the first place.
All this is simply posing the question and through these trials and tribulations that befall us, we find our answer: “Who is on the Lord’s side?”
Or, as Jesus answered the question, “But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Mat 12:48-50)
That’s the question! Who will walk in the will of the Father? Who is on the Lord’s side? There really is no other. Nor even any other concern. If our money is gone — HE is still there! If our country fails, or heads into darkness — HE is still there! If we find ourselves hungry with nothing to eat — angels will minister to us! He does not FAIL, nor will anyone who truly believes in Him be “confounded” or “disappointed.” (Ps 22:5). He is faithful!
Who believes this? I am asking the reader!!
And not only that, but He will not leave one of His sheep lost, either, because His sheep know His voice! There are those who are not His sheep, He plainly says, and He does not know them. (John 10:25-27)
Paul told us, and it is good to remember again: “All that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecutions.” (2 Tim 3:12)
BUT WE WILL NOT FAINT, AND WE WILL REAP IN DUE SEASON! BECAUSE HE “ABIDES FAITHFUL” – IN US!!!!!
Commentary on the above by John Collings:
Interesting Fred. This topic (potential suffering/persecution pending) has been on my mind recently as well although I am not one to normally think on such things. And yes, He is in it for…’as He is in the world so are we’. In the event of its manifestation I agree, it will be entirely new ground for many westerners and so called church-going, ‘moral’ Christians who are still ‘American’ at heart, in their consciousness, etc.
At that time the Josephs will be made known, i.e., those who have been suffering already for many years in preparation ‘for such a time as this’ and to ‘save many alive’ while mercifully supplying them with their long-stored UP ‘grain’ (see Prov 11:26 & of course Jesus is the Bread of Life) acquired during their unjust ‘imprisonments’. Greater grace/strength portioned out to us in that hour is most certain. Even what to say, it will be given to us.
So He (still) says…fear not!