“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)
Most of us likely will not be forced to die at the stake, be stoned and left to die, executed at short range, endure lashings with bone or metal pieces added to inflict greater physical harm, hung helplessly in gallows, set on fire, covered in hot tar, or be imprisoned in solitary confinement for preaching about Jesus Christ. However, as a humble vessel covered in His rich grace and mete for use in furthering the gospel message we can expect to endure trials and tribulation for the name of Christ, even unto physical injury or death, if that be His will for our life.
Persecution unto death in the United States is not unheard of; but is not a pressing issue or hot button topic most Christians are currently up in the air about. Christians who are living overseas in third world countries or in lands in the ten forty window area endure much more hardship, ostracizing, persecution, and death for their personal faith placed in Christ than those who are living in the United States. Living in this country we have freedom: we are able to attend church services, openly witness, read our Bible, hand out tracts, preach and teach the Word, and can choose to live a life of truth in obedience to His infallible Word.
However, it is likely there will come a day when the Truth of God’s Word is no longer welcomed or permissible. Our freedom in this country has been eroding away for many years on a slow, almost unnoticeable track, but it will gain more and more momentum until our freedoms simply slide away into oblivion. It seems we are on a faster paced track and likely one day soon our freedom of speech and religion will become even greater targets of restriction and suppression by those who hate God’s Word loving to dwell in the darkness and wickedness of this world.
God’s grace is sufficient for whatever situation we find ourselves in the midst of. It is ultimately in His strength that we exist and function, not in our own power and purpose. His grace is more than sufficient to meet our immediate need; and all needs of tomorrow. His grace is always abundant, over and above what the task at hand requires and always leads to His glory and honor not to any honor of our own.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Times of weakness and spiritual poverty are needed for perfecting our spiritual walk; bringing about greater humbleness, purging out our natural prideful tendencies and willful propensity to follow our own path in accomplishing our desired outcome; rather than being obedient and following the perfect will of God.
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)
We can keep the great and godly example of Daniel and his three friends in the Old Testament tucked into the back of our mind and fresh in our heart; pulling it out for times we are knocked down, troubled and persecuted in this world. Daniel and his friends were sold into bondage existing at the mercy of a wicked ruler; but God provided just what they needed, when they needed it, and how they needed it more than a few times.
God’s great grace and mercy kept Daniel and his friends from any physical harm whatsoever in the heat of the oven; even as those who shoved them inside the oven succumbed instantly to the heat bringing about their sudden death; Daniel and his three friends were completely untouched by the flames and smoke, not even any trace of soot upon them, from being placed within the middle of the oven. God was there with them with His divine protection the whole time.
God was in the oven with Daniel and his three friends and He will accompany you with His shield of protection and rich grace supernaturally. He will stand beside you in the intense heat of trials and trouble. God never fails to cover us in His great web of grace, mercy, and protection, even carrying us as necessary, according to His will and way always with our best interests at heart.
All God needs is willing vessels mete for use His divine plan.