Persecution Is Coming to a Church Near You
The world is in continued, aggressive opposition to the Church. Beloved, get used to it! They don’t like you! Their prince hates you because he hates your King. You cannot please them! You won’t (or should not try to) fit in!
This opposition often takes the form of persecution directed at Christians.
Contrary to the world’s purpose, suffering does not close down the Church, suffering strengthens it.
Persecution and mockery from the world only confirm the reality and power of our Kingdom.
Sufffering, threats, the horrors of man’s inhumanity to man—all can destroy faith.
Albert Camus and John Paul Sartre, having experienced the horrors of World War II, both assumed an existential world without God.
Franz Kafke, seeing the inhumanity of mankind during the same period postulated a world in which we were all accused of crimes but were never given the charges. The Trial ends with the man character standing before a firing squad, unaware of what he had done wrong but certain that he had done something wrong since there he was standing before a firing squad.
Elie Wiesel, his autobiography of his time in Buchenwald (Night):
Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.
Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.
Look at the end of the passage, Acts 5:17-42: They rejoiced that they considered themselves worthy to suffer for Christ.
Hebrews 11:36-40 just confirms this truth.
36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented — 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. NKJV
What caused these believers to rejoice in suffering and opposition?
What did Albert Camus, JeanPaul Sartr, Franz Kafka, and Elie Wiesel lack?