As we scan the conditions in our world today, the tendency is to think times have never been this bad. I understand these feelings. Though I have gone through many upheavals in my lifetime, it seems that the conditions caused by COVID-19 have brought change to our whole way of living.
Looking back over the history of the Church, there were times and events that made some wonder if the Church was on the verge of extinction. Shortly after the Church was born, persecution resulted in believers being scattered from Jerusalem to Samaria (Acts 8). I doubt God wanted them to get too comfortable with their growth and success. As Jesus indicated just before He ascended, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem…and to the end of the earth [anywhere]”” (Acts 1:8.)
Power through the Holy Spirit was not dependent of good conditions for them to be witnesses. Paul faced riots, endured beatings, ship wrecks, and many other sufferings (2 Corinthians 11). What drove these suffering, scattered saints was understanding the greatness of their calling.
Peter wrote thirty years after Acts 8, to saints who had been driven from their homeland and he reminds them of the “living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). Paul wanted to know more of Christ and “the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10).
The Church needs this outlook! I challenge you to evaluate your perspective on current conditions. If you have the vision that Peter and Paul had, you will keep pursuing God’s plan and purpose no matter what happens.
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