In Luke 21, Jesus describes a series of bad days that can hang with the worst of them. Let me show you just two of those verses.
Luke 21:11 "There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven."
I have to be honest. My worst days don't compare to this! The whole earth will seem like its falling apart and when you raise your eyes to look to the heavens and perhaps pray, you'll be terrified by what you see. That's a pretty bad day.
Luke 21: 12 "But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake."
Not only will the world be falling apart in those days, but Christians will face heavy persecution. I'm not just talking about name calling. History has shown us this kind of persecution before. The Romans tossed Christians into the arena to be eaten alive by wild animals and came up with many other horrible ways of terrorizing Christians.
So what words of encouragement does Jesus offer? They're not exactly what we might expect.
Luke 21:13 "This will be your opportunity to bear witness."
Jesus doesn't tell us it will be over quickly. Instead, He tells us to see this as an opportunity! The worst day we could possibly imagine going through comes along and Jesus tells us we need to see it as a great chance!
You see, Christians can have joy and peace in their souls during the worst of circumstances. We can be happy when we have lost all of our money, had all of our possessions stolen, been thrown into prison, been separated from our loved ones... How? Because our purpose for the present and our hope for the future are not found in our financial security, luxurious things, or even the people we love. Our purpose and hope are found in Jesus Christ and He will never leave us nor forsake us. We can serve Him and honor Him anywhere and we can know with a certainty that He will one day set all things right.
In fact, Christians can even show love and service to others, even when they have been persecuted. We can love even those who act as our enemies. How? Because we were once enemies of God. And while we were yet His enemies, He loved us by sending His Son to die in our place in order to reconcile us back to Him. We know what it is to be forgiven, which frees us to forgive and love even those who persecute us.
The rest of the world will find it difficult to be truly joyous and hopeful in the midst of a bad day. The rest of the world may find it hard to show love and be gracious to those that hurt them. But we Christians can actually do it. And that speaks volumes! That's why sometimes the worst days ever are the best opportunities to bear witness to Jesus. Because when life goes wrong all around us, we can stand up with joy and peace and love our enemies. Those around us will be shocked. They will find us strange. They will wonder what it is that we have that gives us calm in the midst of a storm. And we will answer, "His name is Jesus!"
So, maybe there aren't literal earthquakes shaking the ground and you probably aren't facing heavy persecution, but what bad days have you had recently? Did your bad day revolve around a relationship, money, a job, school, or something else? What was your attitude like in the midst of the bad day? Would it have looked to those around you as if your hope was in something beyond the things of this world? Would your attitude have caused others to say, "What do you got that I don't?"
I needed this reminder from Jesus to make sure I take the opportunity to bear witness when the bad days come. Let's remind ourselves to fix our eyes and center our hopes on Jesus. Let's bear witness in the midst of crisis.
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