Wednesday, February 17, 2016
The punches of persecution
Yes, I know you well.
You're the one my youngest child once prayed for on that blistery winter night in our snuggly bed. Yes, he prayed for you. He prayed you'd stop hurting those he loves. He prayed you'd stop lying to those he cares for. He prayed you'd stop covering God's beautiful earth with your darkness. He prayed you'd stop offering counterfeit versions of hope to those who need rescuing. Yes, this innocent, tender-hearted boy prayed for you.
I also realize you know my family well. Yes, you are lurking close by, watching and waiting for any prime opportunity to reveal the ugliness of your presence. You were perfectly content leaving us alone while living as luke warm followers of Christ. In fact, you encouraged it. You took delight in my fruitless life, my hypocritical actions, my deceitful words, my greedy thoughts, my destructive tongue, my selfish ambitions, my prideful motives, my idol worshipping heart. In fact, you highly encouraged the bible studies, the church attendance, the Gold cross necklace around my neck. Nothing brought you greater delight than when I, who lived and operated like the world, wore the mask of christianity and wore the cloak of a powerless testimony.
But now, we have you concerned, don't we? Yes, we're onto you, this family of mine. We're onto your schemes, your deceptions, your decoys, your temptations, your craftiness, your hatred. We're onto you.
We know you take delight in broken marriages. We know you find joy in the web of addiction. We know you find twisted satisfaction in the formation of emotional strongholds. We know you find humor in the secrecy of shame. We know you are gratified with unjustly persecution. We know.
But we also know we cling to the One who has defeated you. Yep, We know how this story ends. We know the truth of that which you desire to keep hidden from this world. You're defeated. You're conquered. Your power is no match for that which empowers the soul of one who clings to Jesus.
There is NO weapon formed against us that will succeed. Not one. God takes the very weapons you hand picked to destroy His children, and uses them as the very path and gateway to life, peace and joy.
Yes, I'll admit, I felt your punch this week.
It was painful.
It was well-thought through, your persecution, wasn't it?
You targeted that which is closest to my heart. But failed to realize, however, that the one you chose to persecute has unshakeable faith.
Yes, that the one you chose to injure, is deeply rooted in Jesus.
That the one you chose to wound, knows she is a daughter of the King of Kings.
That the one you chose to shake, is unshakeable.
That the one you chose to scare, smiled in response to your fear tactics.
Yes, this 14 yr. old daughter of mine is not shaken, fearful or daunted in the least by your intimidation and threats.
For she lives by the truth in God's word that says "Don't be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, by God Himself."(Phil 1 28)
As I listened to the vicious voice mail left on my daughters cell phone, of a cowardly young man
hiding behind an unidentified caller-ID, your
words rung through his destructive voice.
I heard him tell my daughter "there is no God, you B*****!"
I heard him tell my daughter "Listen you Sl*t, you're going to stop talking about Jesus at school."
I heard him tell my daughter "You're a F***-ing B**** and are going to Hell because there is no Jesus, so stop talking about Him!"
And as the tears began fill up my eyes in natural response to the ugliness, viciousness and darkness of this lost, hurting young man, my daughter looked up at me with her content and contagious smile and said "This just proves I'm a disciple of Christ, Mom. I'm grateful for the reminder."
And there it was. 1 Peter 4 14 "If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the Spirit of God rests on you." But this time it was out of written form and tangibly living itself out in front of my eyes, in the form of a young daughter radiating God's light from within. That which you, the enemy, used to harm, God used to bring delight, joy and satisfaction to the soul.
Not only did your evilness encourage my daughters own faith and loyalty to God, it deeply encouraged, strengthened, refreshed and revived my own.
So, thank you, enemy of my soul. Thank you for the reminder that my God is bigger, bolder, higher, wider, longer, stronger, deeper, than you could ever be. That we have already won the victory over you because the Spirit who lives in me is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. (1 John 4:4)