Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.—Matthew 5:10-12
Lord Jesus, Isaiah prophesied that you would be a man acquainted with sorrows (Isa.53:3). And it was true. From the beginning of your earthly life you would know many sorrows, one of them stemming from the persecution you endured.
Lord, so many gifts we receive in this life come in the ugliest, most unattractive wrapping! Sometimes we endure sickness or emotional pain which are not pleasant at all, but in the end our lives our blessed beyond measure through them and we realize we would not change a single moment or event. Sometimes we experience broken relationships or betrayals, and our hearts are deeply wounded, but in end that same wound turns out to be the biggest blessing we could never imagine. Today, I want to thank you for the gift of persecution.
We don’t often think of persecution from others as a gift but you have told us to rejoice in them! Today your promise to prepare a banquet for us in view of our enemies stands out. Your promise to make our enemies our footstools comes to mind. Today your people are as persecuted as ever. The Christian church is under fire. Those who embrace You as Lord and Savior are ridiculed and scorned and being a believer in Christ today is no easier than it was centuries ago.
I pray help those who are being persecuted right now, those who are being held to the fire, those who are encountering flaming tongues and wagging heads, pointing fingers simply because they stand for what is right in your name. Make persecution a gift to them! Cause it to draw them even closer to You and become stronger in their relationship with You. More deliberate in their witness and living.
Whether the persecution we experience comes on a personal level, corporate or political level put rods of strength in our backs and smiles upon our faces. Do not let us crumble or faint under pressure. Do not let us be put to shame, but let those who persecute us stand corrected and see our Sovereign God at work.
Jesu,s help us to be still and know You are God! You don’t need our help to fight these battles waged against us. Keep us from revenge; it is not sweet at all but short-lived. Help us to keep our mouths closed even though we are tempted to come back with quick retorts. Remind us today and always that when we are being persecuted for righteousness sake you will fight our battles all we have to do is give you space, watch and pray. You have promised us a blessing when we stand under persecution and we will enjoy it.
Lord Jesus, today I want to thank you for the unlikely gift of persecution. It’s an ugly package but holds a most beautiful, unexpected gift both now and in eternity! Amen.