Evil is celebrated as good, and good is declared evil. This world is in turmoil. Yet one of the things I struggle with most is not the turmoil in the earth, but in me. I face persecution every day. Fears. Negative thoughts. Self-hatred. Doubts. Temptations. Lies that try to obliterate my life. If I’ve never loved. If I’ve never been brave. If I have always been scared and weak. If I am damned. If I am gone, then I am persecuted. Constantly.
The world hates Christians. We are its enemies. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first…. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” (John 15:18, 20)
My battles, however, are not fought against the substance of the world, nor even against myself, but against the spiritual forces behind it, as written in Ephesians 6:12: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
I am persecuted and am in joy, because I have Jesus. Those quiet, timeless moments between Him and me so alter my character that I never want to be anyone else but His. They’re far better than any hurt. Persecution is horrible and painful, and it seems like it will never end, especially if I’m battling it every day. But I have a Comforter who is with me, who will never let me go, who is so intimate with my life that He has suffered with me, and knows me, who has the victory in His hand. Having Him in my life as my King makes me want to shout for joy!
So how is Jesus these days!? How does He feel? What’s He doing? What’s He thinking about? What’s He building?? What can I do to bless Him? Praise Him? What dreams can we form together as we make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich together?
I want Jesus. He knows how deep I’ve been carved. He knows every one of my scars. He knows how painful and rewarding the journey has been for me to come to my knees before Him. He’s been there all this time. Through every fear. Through fire. Against the spiritual hatred I understand too well. He’s fought all the battles for me.
He’s had His hand on my shoulder all this time, pointing to the horizon, to the people before Him, a people of an order and of a sentiment and of a joy who are unspeakably, beautifully loved. I’m speaking of you and me, of all the unlikeliest souls we encounter every day who are abused, who are so angry at God that they’d kill Him if they could, and take His place. I’m speaking of you and me.
There is only one way out of this world. There is only one answer. There is only one King. There is only one kingdom. There is no faith outside of Jesus Christ. There is only His joy. There are only His arms. And only His heart we hear when we’re afraid, pumping, thundering, to comfort us in our writhing, holding us close. There is only one Savior. No fruit from any other vine but His. There is only His love. There is only Jesus.
If I can see love through His eyes, then the world would not be in a Reign of Terror where hatred and abuse and violence and idolatry and greed overwhelm the shores and the oceans fill the streets with blood—I wouldn’t see any of that. It wouldn’t even matter. I’d see only Him.
He’s forgiven all that sin in me. He’s changed me. My heart. Made me His. Given me a new name. Given me new blood. A different kind of tongue. A language filled with marrow.
Jesus Christ swallowed turmoil on the cross. I rest in Him. He is coming. And He is good. Let’s find out how good He is. Not just in June, but forever.