In suffering, God cares – Part 2
The account of the burning bush as recorded by Moses, is significant in many ways. In one particular case, it is noted that the burning bush was not consumed because God was in the bush. And because of the presence of the divine personality among the Israelites, the fire of persecution, affliction, oppression and the satanic difficulty could not consume them. The testimonies of others are an encouragement that the fire burning around you or your family will soon give way, as it happened to those who have gone before us. Although there are persecutions, afflictions and difficulties in the world, the Almighty God will bring you “out into a wealthy place.”
The time of trouble is the time to get nearer to the Lord and renew our commitment, consecration and vow to Him, just as did Apostle Paul, who possessed the spirit of the conqueror. The fire of persecution, affliction, perplexity and difficulties may burn, but God’s people are neither consumed nor weakened because of the daily renewal of their inner man. The fire of the world cannot destroy genuine faith, nor can it fight against God and win.
But the believer must be watchful not to offend, so that the ministry will not be blamed. Discouragement often sets in, when people focus on the fire and not on the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. It is difficult to understand the suffering of the righteous, but Apostle Peter encourages continuity in righteousness. Look away from the fire and look up to God.
“And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Our responsibilities during persecution and difficulties include: (i) prayer and pledge to continue to serve the Lord, (ii) peace and purity in all our dealings, (iii) patience and perseverance in all our interactions, (iv) purging and pruning of our hearts, (v) purpose and passion in all our endeavours, (vi) praise and power from God at all times, (vii) progress and preservation in all our experiences.
The Lord is faithful in protecting His people. In spite of sore afflictions, persecutions and troubles, God’s people always prevail. The Israelites and the early Church prevailed. Our testimony as a church and as individuals that have been through persecution and fiery trials is, “it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
The Lord’s faithfulness will continue to be real in the believer’s life, as it was in the lives of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, three men trained and promoted as leaders while in exile, in Babylon. They refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s idol in Babylon. As they stood for God, they overcame. Their persecutor’s fire could not consume them in the fiery furnace. Rather, only the men that threw them into it were consumed by the fire. If you are a true child of God, the fire of affliction will not consume you.
Like Nebuchadnezzar saw the three Hebrew children in the fire unhurt, your persecutors and adversaries will see that God is with you and that you are unconquerable.
Further Reading (King James Version): Exodus 3:2; Acts 7:30-32; Deuteronomy 4:20; Exodus 3:3,4; Psalm 33:10-12; 1 Peter 2:9; Deuteronomy 26:17-19; Isaiah 43:2; Luke 1:70-75; 2 Peter 1:3,4; Psalm 97:10-12; Exodus 3:2-4; Psalm 66:12-14; 2 Corinthians 4:7-11,16-18; 6:1-10; 1 Peter 4:12-16,19; 5:7-10; 2 Timothy 4:18; Exodus 3:2; Psalm 129:1,2; Lamentations 3:19-23; Daniel 3:19-25.