By Josil Gonzales, Philippines
Like many Christians today, first century Corinthians believed that adversity was inconsistent with the Spirit-filled life. Paul needed to remind them that affliction, hardship, persecution and being struck down are part of the normal Christian life (2 Cor. 4:8-9).
Paul’s opponents claimed that God’s power is manifest best through signs, wonders and miracles. Paul maintained that God’s power is shown most effectively through hardship and distress. All our risks, dangers we confront, humiliations we face, and trials we endure are but opportunities for Christ to demonstrate His power in and through us.
This is a hard message for 21st century believers. But we Christian publishers, editors, writers and designers should share this inconvenient truth. We like to be in control and operate from a position of strength, not weakness. But Paul reminds us that “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
In parts of the world, Bibles are still being confiscated, churches are still being closed, believers are still being arrested and imprisoned.
Does God always bring deliverance in times of persecution? I wish I could say “yes.” Our brothers and sisters in the Persecuted Church tell us, “Yes, we go through suffering, but God is always with us and that enables us to press on.”
That is the way of the cross. Jesus walked the hard and narrow road. Paul walked the hard and narrow road. We too need to walk that hard and narrow road, and share the inconvenient truth.
Excerpted and adapted from a devotional message by Josil Gonzales at LittWorld 2015. Josil has been serving the Persecuted Church for the last 20 years. He works in two creative access countries in South Asia as country manager. A graduate of AB Journalism from the University of the Philippines, he also served as publications manager for OMF Literature Inc, and managing editor of Alliance Publishers Inc’s monthly pre-evangelistic magazine, Sidestreets. He is the founding chairman of Christian Writers’ Fellowship. An avid runner, Josil has joined numerous races including two 42k runs.
<<Take Action and pray for the Persecuted Church. Download a monthly prayer guide to pray for persecuted Christians around the world.