Most in the west have been spared the test.
We have not experienced the powerful enemies of Christianity until now. This spiritual war, full of hate and violence, once lacked power, but no more. There is nothing new under the sun since Christ came to visit. Christians have been on the anvil and under the hammer of powerful enemies who would bend them to do their will. Saints are often on the run or driven into hiding. We have been spared in the west until we were conquered from within.
Satan plays the blind like a fiddle, and his orchestra has grown quite large. It is easy to think we have a hero and that debt does not matter. To wish we will once again be living in the land of the free seems vain to me. Things will change. Evil has a plan. Destruction is the goal. It’s war, you know.
The apostle Paul, along with Silvanus and Timothy, wrote a letter to the Thessalonians who were suffering persecution and afflictions. He lifted their spirits by telling them that in God’s righteous judgement, they would “be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.” (2 Thessalonians 1:5)
In contrast, when Jesus appears, He will “deal out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)
“…That God would count you worthy of your calling” was their prayer for the Thessalonians. And that God would “fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power,” Worthy of a calling. “So that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him,” How can we love our blind and disobedient enemies while being persecuted and afflicted? The answer is,“according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)
So, my brothers and sisters in lands of persecution, may God count you worthy of your calling “when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed —” (2 Thessalonians 1:10) And for those who have thought themselves to have escaped the things that befall their brothers, I worry. Most find it hard to love a toothless enemy. How will they fair when under pressure to conform?
Salvation is the gift of grace through faith. It is our love and endurance that makes us “worthy of the kingdom of God.” Practice now while it’s easy, and with plenty of opportunity.