This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled Jesus Freaks, compiled by DC Talk and the Voice Of the Martyrs. In the following passage, a Romanian saint by the name of Reck experienced Christian suffering in the 1950s, providing us with fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:3)
Suddenly the Communist stopped beating the Christian prisoner. After a short pause, he said: "You know, I am God. I have power of life and death over you. The one who is in heaven cannot decide to keep you in life. Everything depends upon me. If I wish, you live. If I wish, you are killed. I am God!"
In the midst of his suffering, Reck replied, "You don't know what a deep thing you have said. Every caterpillar is in reality a butterfly, if it develops right. You have not been created to be a torturer, a man who kills. You have been created to become like God, with the life of the Godhead in your heart."
"Many who have been persecutors like you have come to realize--like the apostle Paul--that it is shameful for a man to commit atrocities, that they can do much better things. So they have become partakers of the divine nature."
"Jesus said to the Jews of His time, 'Ye are gods.' Believe me, your real calling is to be Godlike--to have the character of God, not a torturer."
(Note: At that moment, the Communist did not pay much attention to the words of his victim. But those words worked in his heart, and he remembered them long afterwards. Eventually, he became a Christian.)
A moment of consideration: Ever since pre-historic times, when Lucifer chose to ascend to God's throne (Isaiah 14:12-15), people have been trying in vain to wrest God's position from Him. Jesus Christ said that many would appear, claiming to the Son of God (Matthew 24:24); both have come true even today, when mortals continue to try to usurp that which is God's alone, and even claim to be Jesus Christ reincarnate. Evidences are rife, among the new-age and humanist throngs. Humanism by itself at least (if not overtly in every case) puts persons in God's rightful role/position. It usurps God's attributes and functions; this has led to transgender surgeries, DNA manipulation, chimera-like transhuman genetic mixture of human/animal genes to create hybrid beings, offers for immortality by placing one’s brain into a new “bionic” body, etc. So, for the interrogator Reck's situation to call himself "God" is part of the humanist self-aggrandizement.
As God's Word instructs/commands believers to do is to choose who we will serve (Joshua 24:15), we are to be careful to watch that we are not taken-in or captured by the wide road and throng of humanists (Colossians 2:8; Matthew 7:13-14). Many families, in these last days, have had sons and/or daughters fall from faith and be woven into the humanist fabric, as part of the great falling away (Matthew 24:9-12). Pray for the fallen and the falling, that their lives may yet be redeemed and saved from the evil one. Time is short; much is at stake. The spirit of lawlessness is alive and active, around the world (Titus 2:11-15); but Christ came to save us from such chaotic and lawless lives of sin.
Have we been impacted by the COVID-19 virus in our lives, our communities, our nation, our world? It would be helpful for us to know our history, as Franklin D Roosevelt had remarked on October 5, 1937 (in a speech in Chicago),
"The epidemic of world lawlessness is spreading. When an epidemic of physical disease starts to spread, the community approves and joins in a quarantine of the patients in order to protect the health of the community against the spread of the disease."
While he referenced the "Epidemic Of Aggressors" at that time, and didn't experience this epidemic that we now face, lawlessness continues today, through disease, corruption in government (with governmental over-reach, profligate spending, and willful neglect of its own citizens), as well as groups like Antifa and BLM, and many others. These disease-related and other evidences of lawlessness are not of God, as 1 Corinthians 14:31 tells us. We have been instructed to expect this chaotic development in the days in which we live (Matthew 24:36-37; Genesis 6:5; Luke 21:24-25; Matthew 24:3-14); in fact, there is a reason we are living in these days, even as Mordecai explained to Queen Esther. Perhaps we too have been enlivened for such a time as this (Esther 4:14b).
These are not days for believers of weak strength (Proverbs 24:10), of double-mindedness (James 1:2-8), or of distraction by the world and its "delights" (Luke 16:14-18; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Timothy 6:10; 2 Timothy 4:10). No, we are to don the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18a), live alertly (Acts 20:31; Ephesians 6:18) and know/understand the times. The instructions to put on the whole armor of God includes knowing God’s Word and being able to use it as we stand against the Devil’s wiles. We're to be prepared to give our testimony of how Christ has impacted our lives (1 Peter 3:13-17), prepared to undergo trials in our lives (because of our faith) as God's Word leads us (1 Peter 4:12-17; James 1:2-4), and persevere in the faith (Jude 17-23; 1 Corinthians 4:11-13; Hebrews 10:36).
The battle lines have been drawn (2 Peter 2:1-19, and we have been instructed to be bold (1 John 4:17), to hold fast what faith we’ve been given (Revelation 3:11). In the event that we might suffer for our allegiance and loyalty to the Son of God, know that such pains are short-lived and will do us good. If we are to be an agent of something or someone, may we be an agent/ambassador of Christ and, counting the cost (Luke 14:25-33), a disciple of the One True God. Remember that, contrasted with humanism, we are not gods; Christ came to earth (as well as other reasons) to free us from that notion; we have One True God, and He will not share His glory with another (Isaiah 42:8).
We know Whom we serve, and He knows us (John 10:14; Psalm 100:3). We have Immanuel to strengthen and to guide, and we have a blessed hope (Titus 2:11-14). Persevere, endure; keep our eyes on the prize of the upward call (Philippians 3:14), and know we are all in this together.