John 15 talks about persecution, about how the world will hate us because of our faith. Here in the UK that persecution tends not to be of the “sticks and stones” variety, it’s mostly words, comments and the odd lost friendship. In other parts of the world persecution can be life threatening (and sometimes is). However, we are all human and all struggle with not being accepted or welcomed. Whatever form persecution takes, it is legitimate for us to feel hurt or upset by it.
James 1:12 says – Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
That’s God telling us that he knows it hurts, he knows it’s tough, but we will be blessed because of our faith, we can persevere because he is with us, and we already have Salvation, we will receive our crown of life.
So next time you hesitate to say what you were going to say, you worry about sharing your faith, you neglect to offer prayer to a non-believer when the Holy Spirit is prompting you, remember that God is with you and positively affirms you, just go with it, he will bless you.
STICKS AND STONES
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but God doesn’t expect me to go through it alone, he’s with me and when their words cut through me, when they mock and deride me, I confide in Jesus, I know he sees us, he feels our pain, and though it could never be the same as the treatment he took for me, he sees that it’s tough to be laughed at or worse still ignored, to have doors closed in your face, but I stop and think of God’s grace, how before I was saved I too was blind, I too would find ways to undermine those with faith, I rejoice that my eyes have been opened, that my wounded heart that was broken has been restored, I praise God for his love and welcome the trials that strengthen me, the tests that build me, preparing me for his service, readying me to receive the crown of life promised to those who’ve sacrificed, who’ve stood up to the taunts and jeers, who championed Jesus despite their own fears.