The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.
Psalm 129 says, ““Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth’ – let Israel now say – ‘Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me. The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows.’ The Lord is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked. May all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned backward! Let them be like the grass on the housetops, which withers before it grows up, with which the reaper does not fill his hand nor the binder of sheaves his arms, nor do those who pass by say, ‘The blessing of the Lord be upon you! We bless you in the name of the Lord!’”
All saints throughout all of history can have the same confidence as the psalmist. They can look back on past history and see God delivering and saving and protecting. They look at their own persecutors and haters and afflictions and say, “I am still here.”
The church will endure no matter how bad things get. In 2014, we can easily conclude that our nation continues to decline and we have a church in disarray. It is easy sometimes to feel like Elijah who despaired during the reign of Ahab and Jezebel, when he thought he was the only one left and the last faithful servant of the Lord, though there were 7,000 who had not bowed before Baal (1 Kings 19:14, 18).
In John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian and Hopeful were being held captive by Giant Despair in the dungeon of Doubting Castle, Hopeful responded to Christian’s despair: “My Brother, let’s be patient, and endure a while; the time may come that may give us a happy release.” Their endurance is ultimately rewarded when they escape.
We take comfort in the assurance of Paul’s words in Romans 15:4, that “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Paul also said it this way: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (II Cor 4:16-18).
Even if God allows the “affliction” it is “light” and “momentary” in light of eternity. It won’t go on forever and we will get to heaven one say and stand before the throne and say, “We are still here.”