During my high school years, we had some neighbors who lived around the corner. The father was the pastor of a small church in our area. In 1976, they sold their house and this young family moved into a remote section of the Ozarks in Arkansas. To borrow a term from today, they wanted to “get off the grid.” They moved because Jesus was coming soon, and they wanted to be ready.
Over the years, I’ve wondered about this family. Here we are 46 years later, and Jesus has not returned yet. Are they still off the grid and hiding waiting to be raptured, or did they eventually rejoin society?
While I admire their commitment and devotion, I wonder if that is what Jesus would want us to do? If we knew difficult days of persecution were ahead, I’m sure we’d all do what we could to protect our families. But in Jesus’ teaching about His return and the end times, He said, “Blessed is that servant whom the master finds doing his job when he comes” (Matt. 24:46). Jesus wants us to stay busy doing whatever it is we’re supposed to be doing. We don’t need to stop everything and just gaze upward at the sky. We can listen for the trumpet call of God while we do our regular day’s work.
We’ve heard preachers say over the years: “If you knew this was your last day on earth, what would you do?” While I understand the sentiment behind that question, my thought is: Whatever I think is important to be doing on my last day on earth, shouldn’t I be doing that anyway?
When persecution and hardship come because of Christ, do we stay or do we flee? Examples abound of both in Scripture. Right after Stephen became the first Christian killed for his faith, a severe persecution broke out in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1). Christians fled the city. When Paul faced hardships in many of the cities he visited, he simply left for another city. But none of these believers hid until the persecution stopped; they took the gospel with them and lived for Christ in another city. In fact, because of that first persecution, the gospel message spread!
We also see in Scripture people who stayed put when persecution came. The apostles stayed in Jerusalem when that first persecution broke out. Read Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, and you see a people who endured persecution as they stayed in their own city.
Endure. That’s the operative word in how we are to face persecution, hardships, and tribulation. We stand strong and endure. Do your own Google search on endurance in Scripture, and your screen will be flooded with passages calling us to endure and persevere.
Life is good for me. But when the day comes and my corner of the world turns its back on anything connected to Christ, I have already made my choice. I won’t run. I choose to persevere and keep doing what I’m doing. I want to be faithful to Christ to the very end.
“For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Thess. 4:17-18).
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This post supports the study “Keep Serving Faithfully” in Bible Studies for Life and YOU.
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