The interwebs are full of believers everywhere bemoaning the end of the world over the re-election of Obama to four more years in the Oval Office. Of course, most are also quick to admit that God is still on the throne, despite this “calamity.”
But have no fear. I have a word of encouragement for you. Actually, one of my all-time favorite musicians has a word for you:
“Cheer up, Church / You're worse off than you think. / Cheer up, Church / You're standing at the brink. / Don't despair / Do not fear / Grace is near” (Charlie Peacock, Cheer Up Church from Kingdom Come, 1999).
So, there you go. Cheer up, Church. You're worse off than you think.
Much to our chagrin, we are forced (if we are honest) to admit that history has a recurring lesson for the Body of Christ: we do much better under persecution, trials, and tribulations. In fact, it’s the only time we truly thrive. And then there’s that pesky reality that hardship was promised by Christ Himself.
“Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of my name. . . . But the person who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:9–14).
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely on account of me. Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way” (Matthew 5:10–12).
“My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials” (James 1:2).None of us knows what the next 4 days will look like, much less the next four years or decades. But we do know this: Trials, in whatever form they may take, are good for the Body of Christ. We love to say that God is on the throne and that our hope is in Him, but when we have “our man” in office and business is booming, we don’t have any real need to back up that proclamation with purposeful action. Maybe another decade of declining morals and decaying culture is just what the Body of Christ in America needs to wake us out of our slumber. Maybe bigger, more intrusive government will force us to finally draw a line in the sand and give up this love affair with building mini-kingdoms modeled more after Wall Street than the Word of God.
“But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that the extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed, always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our body. For we who are alive are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our mortal body” (2 Corinthians 4:8–11).
Maybe. It certainly seems to have been the case for the past 3,000 years or so.