On Paul's first missionary journey, he faced increasingly strong opposition from unbelievers. I can relate. This move is somewhat of a missionary journey, and more so, my life is a missionary journey. I have chosen God's way, which happens to be the good way, but also the hard way. "We must go through many tribulations and hardships to enter the kingdom of God" Acts 14:22. But I continue on in the faith, with perseverance as a warrior, because it is not about me...it is about God and for God. It still amazes me how much pain and how many struggles I can endure, for God's sake. Now if I was doing it for me and living my life solely for myself, then my labor and difficulty's would all be in vain. I have seen many Christians before me, persevere even when they have to go through danger. Their endurance illustrates God's peace, mercy and joy, no matter what thier circumstances. "The joy that awaits will make our temporary discomfort worthwhile."
"Much of life is about getting through trials and troubles, that are inevitable in our sinful world. One of these trials is persecution...the ones before me knew the good things that Jesus had ready for those who follow Him, but even they (the disciples) met harsh resistance when trying to tell others the good news." And it is good news! There is such resistance and opposition to such good news-we're talking about the most beautiful gift from God to us. Yet we face persecution, criticism, judgement, and disapproval. Even from our own families and some of the people closest to us. What can you expect in such an ever-changing world? Jesus warned us of this...people will be easily swayed by the things of this world and they will harden their hearts from receiving the Truth.
But I still walk on this journey, and walk through the hardships, because "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it IS in Heaven." His kingdom will come, His will shall be done, on this ever-changing, hard-hearted world as we will all see the Truth as it IS in Heaven, whether we go there or not. I know this may sound harsh, and it is if we choose not to believe. Maybe the reason I am treated so harshly by unbelievers is because the Truth is so harsh if you don't believe. People don't like to hear to the Truth, when they are not walking in it. I have been there, we all have. But the why doesn't really matter, the Truth still stands firm as it has for thousands of years, and that is the WHAT-which matters the most.
It is not about being self-righteous, because I know good and well that I do not have things all figured out. I put no confidence in myself, for I am weak, but God is strong. My confidence is in Him and His word. I am not right, He is right. The world no longer has to rest on my shoulders, because He is in charge, and He always has been. You see, when you finally start to experience God and His love, you want to tell everyone that you love about how real He is. It would be cruel to keep it all to yourself, don't you think? It is not about changing your mind to align with mine, or me being right and you being wrong. No it is about showing you God's real love for you! It would be like me finding a national treasure, and then keeping it all to myself and not sharing it with everyone I love. The first thing I would want to do is call up all my loved ones and tell them to come join the party, so to speak. How can I stay silent and keep quiet about my saving Grace?!?! It's like getting rescued from death, and then not telling anyone about your rescuer. Yet I try to tell people and they get defensive and their hearts hardened...I'm just trying to share the love and grace that I have found, because I love them! I guess tough-love is true love. I could easily go on my merry way and not face any opposition and stay comfortable by not going out of a limb and sharing the good news. But that would be selfish. If I truly loved, I would not care how uncomfortable it makes ME feel, I would care more about the person's salvation than about their feelings toward me.
Love is an action, not a feeling or a word. It is putting YOUR needs above my own. So truly loving, would be to tell you the Truth whether you hate me for it or not. Knowing that it is not about you liking me, it is about the bigger picture of you knowing God. You may hate me, and that will hurt. But it is so worth it when it comes down to where you're spending eternity. I love you that much that I will risk you liking me here on Earth. For my trials and pain are NOT in vain. I admire, so much, the others that forge on, no matter what the cost or how hard the persecution is.