It’s not always persecution

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“The washing machine has broken down again, the car needs some expensive repairs, and to cap it all off I’ve injured a limb. This is very clearly a demonic attack because of what I’m doing for the Lord. “

You have no doubt met the type of person who immediately links any misfortune with spiritual warfare and satanic assault. Then there are those who are quick to see any challenge or difficulty as evidence of oppression against the church. There are those loudly protesting the lockdowns we’ve faced as an example such persecution.

Persecution is real, just as is spiritual warfare. But when we hear people leaping to make those claims, we want to respond by saying “not necessarily so.” It is possible that we are attracting an full on spiritual assault and that the state have begun to clamp down against our religious freedoms as some have been warning us to do for years. However, if you always see everything through that prism you might be getting a distorted view of life.

The reality is that things break down. When our car decided to die it wasn’t because of demons in the engine, it was because we had taken the poor old thing with its mounting milage on one last  journey too far. When the sciatica returned and stubbornly kept rearing its head again, similarly as bothersome as it was, I had to recognise that a mixture of increased weight due to COVID exercise and diet regime changes along with doing some exercise and then twisting my ankle and knocking my balance out of kilter topped off by the fact that when you move into your mid forties things are starting to take longer to correct themselves all combined towards my ailment.

Again, where some saw persecution from an oppressive regime, others who have observed real tyrannical governments at work were more likely to put the inconvenience down to a mix of government incompetence and a genuine desire to combat the pandemic.

There will be times of real persecution for all of us. It is perhaps best not to second guess them. Instead, we do well to recognise that there will be troubles in life and when they hit, these words are helpful.

“2 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”[1]

[1] James 1:2-4.

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