“… be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)
It is sometime in the near future. On a beautiful afternoon you and your family begin making the usual plans for Sunday, except the usual plans we are all accustomed to have been brought to a screeching halt by the events that are turning the religious world upside down!
Preparations are made to disguise what you and your family intend to do when you go for a ride outside of the city limits where you live and head for the country. You meander around through various side roads until you arrive at an out-of-the-way community park that has long since been deserted and left for the vines and other parasites to overtake. And they have done their job well.
You park your vehicle under a canopy of low-hanging trees so that it would be difficult to be seen by others in the air or driving even remotely near. You all put on your backpacks that are full for what appears to be a family outing. Paper plates, plastic cups and eating utensils, the meal, the sports paraphernalia, and a hidden compartment with paper copies of the Bible.
Once you begin your hike you make your way up the rolling hills to a remote location where others can be seen who look just like your family. Nothing is spoken … hand signals are offered … the brush is pulled back to reveal a hidden cave. Once inside you can see other families already there, illuminated by their LED lanterns. After the greetings … silence ensues … and worship begins!
While this illustration is fictional right now … the fact is it could become reality in the not-so-distant future. Signs of an impending storm are on the horizon! The devil is at work and he is winning a number of battles. But we have assurance he will not win the war!
I don’t know about you but I know about me and I have thought about the above mentioned scenario a number of times and even more so as I grow older and see the direction the world would have God’s people go. Even more alarming is the seeming complacency of a growing number of God’s people. Folks, worshipping and serving the Lord is a wonderful privilege and we should always look forward to every opportunity to be with the Lord’s people. We must never become guilty of taking it for granted! Ever!
So … the question we all need to ask ourselves while trying to be as completely honest as we can be based on our spiritual activities over the last several years: “Would I be willing to risk my life and the lives of my family to meet with other Christians in the face of persecution or even death?”
“Could I take this step in faith no matter what the consequences might be?” I realize these are not pleasant thoughts to consider. I realize these are unsettling thoughts to even the most experienced child of God. Suffering is not pleasant for anyone at any time, but suffering for the cause of Christ or for being one of God’s faithful whether under the Old Law or the New Law happens (2 Timothy 3:12).
It’s an old illustration but one that is always relevant. Suppose you were arrested and brought before the authorities to be tried for serving the Lord. Would the evidence collected bear out your faithfulness and obedience to Jesus Christ or would it lead to your being released due to a lack of evidence?
I am so glad that I am not the judge of all this! But I do know the Judge who is completely capable of rendering a verdict that will be both fair and impartial. Please just take a little bit of time over the next few days and consider these thoughts won’t you. Ask our Lord to help you increase your faith and that of your family.
Fittingly in the same letter to the church at Smyrna where our opening passage is recorded are found the following words: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:11).
Bill Fairchild, Jr.