The Coming Persecution and Our Children
Persecution is coming upon the Church in the West, starting with America. In the next few years, we are going to experience a new normal that will change the way we live and the way we worship. Some of us will compromise to get along and maintain the present normalcy as long as we can. But, since all of this has been prophesied in the Bible over two-thousand years ago, it is going to happen, nonetheless. Those who work to accommodate the world will, in the long run, have the hardest time. Going along to get along is not to be an acceptable option for us as followers of Christ. It is best to determine now how to be a stand-up Christian who can thrive in the new normal.
A stand-up Christian is not what you might think it is. He is not the one who will go on the attack with lawyers and lawsuits. The Bible says that our weapons are not carnal, but spiritual. A stand-up Christian will be a knees-on-the-ground Christian, who makes prayer his greatest weapon. This way, the forces of heaven are marshalled against ungodliness.
I recently received a text from a man asking for counsel on how to respond when his daughter was forbidden by her school from singing a Christian song at the talent show. He has the right to approach the school and request (may I say, demand?) a change of heart. He has the right to inform them that his daughter’s Constitutional rights are being set aside for this apparently special ruling. He has the right to write a letter to the editor of his local newspaper and approach the school board concerning this clear example of prejudice against her religious faith. And all these things he can do with God’s blessing. But the motive must be carefully evaluated by this dad who sees his daughter abused by worldly authorities.
This father may choose from two motives that are righteous and one that is carnal and worldly. The carnally motivated response is to go after those who tried to stifle his daughter’s desire to be a testimony to her peers. Let's face it, as dads, we would stop a bullet for our kids, and seeing them badly treated sends our blood pressure through the roof as we cry out, "Nuke 'em all and let God sort out the bodies!" He can do this through threatening and the intimidation of a lawsuit or picketing. He can probably win his case because those who will oppose them haven’t thought the issue through and are more interested in not rocking their boat. But that might not be a good way to proceed because the motivation would be “I want to win! I want to be vindicated!"
Another motive would be to take a humble and proper stand for righteousness using the existing laws and, through gracious public discourse present his case. That would be the way the Apostle Paul approached the injustices he suffered in Caesarea while under arrest. Paul exercised his rights as a Roman citizen in a respectful manner, and God caused the government to answer his long-term prayer to send him to Rome.
There is that third motivation that, I believe, trumps all others. He must pray that whatever he decides to do, his one goal is to help his daughter learn from this experience how to function in a hostile and toxic culture and to retain her godly demeanor in the face of abuse—for this is the real world she will be entering and this dad must prepare her for the journey.
We parents (and grandparents) are preparing our children for a journey. If we thought it was just a walk in the woods, we would give them a bottle of water, a sandwich, and a fruit roll-up. We would send them off with a kiss and a wave and go back into the house. But we are not sending them out for a walk in the woods, are we? They will journey across a battlefield with mines, trip wires, and fierce enemies. Our preparation must be different. As parents, we must help our children stiffen their spines with chrome steel for the tasks that God has for them in the future.
And this is my challenge to that dad and all others who understand the times. How will we prepare our children for their journey? This dad has been given a head start, and this could be an excellent practice session for his preparation of his daughter as she begins her journey.