“Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” -Acts 5:38-39 (NIV)
Persecution comes in many forms. For Christians living in certain parts of the world, it is violent and lethal. For those Christians living in places where the right to worship freely is generally respected and upheld, their persecution is more subtle and psychological. In both cases it can cause great discouragement and we doubt whether if Christ’s message really does possess the final victory.
However, if we look at history we will find that even through the most brutal of persecutions, Christ and His Church have always emerged triumphant. The Soviets, at the height of their power, boasted that they would parade the last Christian in the U.S.S.R on state television before executing him. Yet in the end, it was Communist state which crumbled while the Church continued to grow. A more contemporary example can be seen in China. Despite vicious crackdowns on Christians during Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and government persecution which continues even to this day, the Church in China is experiencing exponential growth. Many are not only accepting Christ into their lives, but are remaining steadfast in their devotion to Him even under threats of imprisonment or torture.
If something is ordained by God to be fulfilled, it will happen. God is sovereign over the world. Who can stand before His omnipotence and all-knowing wisdom? The greatest examples of wisdom and power amongst men are but examples of foolishness and weakness before Him. Nothing and no one will be able to resist His good and perfect will. As His children, we can take comfort in the fact that since He has initiated His redemptive mission for humanity, He will bring it to its fruition. God will bring about the day when, as Paul describes in Philippians 2:10-11, “…at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Paul himself realized the futility of fighting God’s will for he was once Christianity’s most ardent adversary. What will be our decision? Will we in our stubbornness fight a battle that we cannot win? Or will we embrace Christ and partake in the victory we have in Him?