Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10
There was an article in an October 2013 article in the UK magazine, The Spectator, entitled, “The War on Christians.” The article was a reflection on the fact that the growing global persecution of Christians is either unreported or under-reported by most media outlets. This was written in 2013, even before ISIS and much of the systematic execution of Christians in Syria and Iraq. John L. Allen Jr. reported in the article that a study found that in the decade before 2013, at least 100,000 Christians had been killed because of their faith. He wrote, “That works out to 11 Christians killed somewhere in the world every hour, seven days a week and 365 days a year.”
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he wrote about his weaknesses and his persecutions and insults. He witnessed to the fact that through his suffering of these things for the sake of Christ, his weakness became strength. It is so hard to hear Paul’s words while reading a report of mass killings or seeing a video of someone approaching martyrdom, especially if the mainstream media sees it as just another news story.
But in the 21st century, Christians are under attack in a big way. In stewardship spirituality we talk about a mature discipleship where we respond to Christ’s call, no matter the cost. Well, in today’s world the cost is getting greater and greater. But our strength is in Jesus and the Body of Christ. All our trials and persecutions are connected, whether big or small. Solidarity helped bring down Communism in much of the world, and today, together we can stand with all our Christian brothers and sisters in the face of new evils. It is very hard, of course, but in this battle the victory is already won.
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