Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Our Response to Persecution: Change me first, Lord...

My shoulders slumped, tears swelled up in my eyes -- it seemed the more I tried to "show Jesus" to this person, the more they sinned against me.

Beyond weary and tired from the battle, I was now filled with anger. I was angry at this person, the situation, how I was being treated...yada...yada...yada....

Seeing no end to the persecution, I cried out to God. "Why don't you do something? I mean, hasn't this gone on long enough?!"


I had been praying for years for this situation to cease and no reprieve ever came. The circumstances just seemed to get worse.

Taking a deep breath, I prayed again. This time I confessed my sinful anger to God and asked him to change me instead of changing the situation.

His words pierced my heart, "Why are you so angry, my beloved?  Am I not sovereign? Do I not hold the hearts of each man on Earth? Why do you direct the anger of your heart at this person?"

I swallowed hard as the Creator of the Universe continued, "Direct your anger at me. After all, I am sovereign. I am allowing this time of persecution to come upon you for such a time as this to make you more like my Son. Don't you trust me?"

I squeezed my eyes shut with conviction as tears rolled down my cheeks. I repented. This time when I prayed, I asked God to forgive me for my anger against him and my unbelief that he can even work good out of evil.

This time, my heart emerged with a different posture -- peace. The situation did not change. Instead, God changed me.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

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