If you’ve listened to me for any amount of time, you know that I love Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, specifically the Beatitudes, because they provide a list of blessings we inherit as Christians, some of which we only experience on the flip side of deep waters. Besides loss and grief, another pain that our Savior teaches us to embrace is persecution. Though it can take many forms, suffering as a disciple of Jesus is inevitable at one time in our lives or another. In fact, I think some of us may be enduring a bit of it right now in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. As I’ve shared before, I’ve been called a “dreamer” in a negative context, and I think this has to do with believing in the goodness of a God who can do something miraculous and outside the realm of the ordinary, even when things look dark. Similarly, as people of faith, we may feel pressed down in the midst of this crisis because we maintain a firm hope in a Heavenly Father whom we don’t see. While the world beholds only a situation that is wreaking havoc, because of the Holy Spirit, we possess a peace that transcends understanding and a vision that enables us to see above the valley. To the ones who don’t know our Lord, this can be uncomfortable, and in fear, they may lash out or shame our faith. When this happens, we are presented with a unique opportunity to respond in divine love.
My friend, as a follower of Jesus, this is a time to wear your spiritual armor. While it’s important to exercise wisdom in preventing the spread of an invisible enemy, I encourage you to stand strong in faith and fight off the constant attacks of fear, some of which may be unknowingly launched by others. Yes, there is a battle, but you are a soldier who stands in the goodness of your Savior, and your highest call is to expect His goodness to prevail, even when you don’t behold visible change. You are brave, confident, and full of faith and He has anointed you with a fresh vision that will stand against any form of persecution that assails it.