Luke 21: 10-19
Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls.
What happens to us often happens for the purpose of spreading God’s message to his creation when we belong to him and are called according to his will. We hear many say that what happens to us is personal and yet this passage states it can come upon us as a result of our purpose in life and our calling, often caused by unseen hands. Can we view our circumstances in the light of this passage and see the purpose of God in what we experience, not continue in the negative light but see what can be gained for God’s kingdom from what we are experiencing? Jesus states: 1. you will be persecuted, 2. put in prisons, 3. brought before those placed in positions of authority – all events that could be seen as painful, threatening, personal attacks; but Jesus says see all of this as a means to be a witness. So when we face circumstances that at first we view as negative we can look for the reason and purpose. Is there a way to continue the spread of the gospel? Jesus says: “This will result in you being witnesses to them, ” an opportunity to share, an expansion of your borders.
Things are not what they seem – Paul suffered shipwreck and a new group was brought to the saving knowledge of God. Paul did not let the circumstances deter his purpose and focus. He continued single-mindedly to spread the good news, anyway. We can do the same.