In the current season of social turmoil, it is too easy to miss the opportunities these situations provide. Lesser issues can become the major issues if we are not careful, and in that diversion, we will fail to see the God-ordained opportunities set before us.
Depending on your eschatology the following verse either referred to challenges facing the Church in 70 AD when Jerusalem fell or it points to sometime in the future. Whatever your view of the end of time, the words of Jesus offer clarity of our mission when life is confusing and filled with stress.
“When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me” (Mark 13:9).
When I read the above verse, I pondered what it would be like to be one of those dragged before a governmental authority for my faith. Because of the draconian way someone would be treated in such an instance, making a political statement or demanding justice would not affect the outcome. Something remarkable happens in these desperate situations. The experience removes all our defense mechanisms and self-reliance and takes us down to the very foundational truth of our life. Standing before such opposition and threats of violence becomes an opportunity to tell our oppressors about Jesus.
Perhaps somewhere in the future some of us will encounter such a painful experience. Reading the historical accounts of martyrs, I found they possessed a beautiful peace when the threat of imprisonment or death was imminent. This is the kind of peace that appears when everything has been lost and Jesus is their only remaining hope. When that hope becomes the testimony of our lives, it has the power to change cultures and governments in the most profound ways.