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05 Jun '11

Persecution: How God turns the tables

Posted by T.J. Addington in persecution, World events
Whenever and wherever the gospel pushes boldly into new territory, the evil one pushes back resulting in hardship for believers and the church. Jesus warned His disciples that they would face opposition just as He had. And the stories of Paul's missionary journeys are filled with accounts of satanic "push back" in the form of persecution.

Satan's goal in persecuting believers is of course to halt the spread of the gospel. But in a great divine reversal, God turns the tables on Satan by using that evil push back to actually broadcast His name and turn the spotlight on the Gospel.

Take the state of Orissa, in India, for example. For some time, radical Hindu's have been killing and maiming believers, driving them from their homes and burning churches. Unfortunately for those persecuting, the world turned their spotlight on the plight of believers in Orissa and shamed the Indian government into intervening. Because of the publicity generated by persecution, the gospel and believers in that state have become more well known than ever before. And, the reputation of Jesus is held high by many who have seen how believers handled the persecution and became even more resolved in their faith.

In our own organization the evil one was certainly pleased when the Russian authorities withdrew visas for our staff working at a Bible school in Russia. It looked like the dream was going to die. Instead, the school went virtual, using DVDs. Because "copyright" in Russia means "the right to copy," for every DVD of a Bible course purchased it is estimated that their are 100 copies made and shared across the entire former Soviet Union. What looked like failure was actually the beginning of spectacular success for Bible training with thousands being reached who would never have come to the residential school.

There is nothing more powerful than the gospel of Christ and persecution, rather than hurting the church, actually propels the gospel forward in unexpected ways. It cannot be stopped and what looks like defeat is often the prelude to significant expansion. When you hear of persecution, pray for the believers involved, and pray that God will turn the tables on Satan and use that very persecution to propel His church forward.