What if God’s hand of grace and mercy were lifted from the United States of America and our Christian nation was no more Christian than the Two-Thirds World? What if those of us who now enjoy incredible freedom of religion were tomorrow persecuted for praying, reading the Bible, going to church, or proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and God Himself?
I scoff at end-time “prophesies” like the end of the world will come at 6 PM this coming May 21st… (“NO MAN knows the day or the hour”!) but I do sit up and take note when proven, reputable, God-fearing and wise women like Kay Arthur and Beth Moore cautiously warn us to take heed, that we actually may be entering the final of the final days.
Yesterday we began a women’s Bible study which began with Kay Arthur urgently and passionately begging believers to prepare ourselves for the last days ahead. She asked what we will do if God has written “Ichabod” (“the glory has departed”) over America? If we truly are on the brink of the last days, will we shrink back in the face of persecution?
Kay’s text was the book of Hebrews from which she read extensively. She highlighted one passage at the end of chapter five where the author explains that there was a lot more to say but it was too difficult—the folks who were reading the letter had been believers a long time but they had regressed, so they wouldn’t understand. In fact they should have been teachers themselves but went backwards in their understanding of God’s word over time. They were like adult babies, needing a milk bottle instead of a good hearty steak.
So, back to the question: If Christians in America were to soon experience persecution for our faith, would we shrink back? Would we be babies, unable to stand on our own, needing to be feed in order to be strengthened? Or would we be mature enough in our comprehension of God’s word, able to stand on it firmly, speak of it to each other with joy, let it bring us counsel and comfort, courage and caution? Would we know Jesus well enough to act and respond like Him?
Jesus keeps literally everything in this world in place by the power of His word. The eternal Word of God is worth living and dying for. We don’t live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. We are sanctified in the truth; God’s word is truth. Kay ends day one of our homework with this: If the Bible is what it says it is—and comes straight from the mouth of God—how important is it that we pay close attention to it? Have we honored it as it should be honored? Or have we preferred the writings—the books of men and women—above God’s word?
I am challenged to search deeper, go slower, chew longer, memorize more. I don’t want to be the one who saves her life and loses her very soul because I stood on a foundation of sand.