Recently I heard that when the leader of an underground Chinese church was asked, “What is the best thing that has happened to you in China?” his reply was, “Persecution!”.
Initially one could think, “how bizarre.” But the reality is that the church grows when under persecution. It tests the faith and belief of an individual. When you ask the question, “Am I prepared to die for this belief?” you quickly determine if your belief is real or not.
Is this new?
Well, in Acts 8:1-8, we see that when Stephen was stoned to death, the following occurred:
And Saul approved of their killing him. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city. Acts 8:1-8
Interestingly, after persecution came and the disciples scattered, they preached the Word of God wherever they went. Through signs and wonders people paid close attention to what was being said. Many were healed and set free from demonic powers. And there was great JOY in that city.
Prayer: Lord, help me to preach the Word. Let there be signs and wonders. Let there be great joy in our city. And if persecution has to be a part of it, then ok, I’m in. In Jesus Name I ask it. Amen.