One of my favorite little books is this one:
"365 Devotional Readings From Martin Luther: Through Faith Alone"
Here is a snippet from June 6 reading:
Persecuted and BlessedPaul would know.
"In every way we're troubled, but we aren't crushed by our troubles. We're frustrated, but we don't give up. We're persecuted, but we're not abandoned. We're captured, but we're not killed."
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
If the world cannot enthrall us with its delights and draw us into its sins, then it tries to drive us out with suffering and torment. The whole time we are on earth the world tries to deceive us by showing us examples of sin or by cruelly torturing us. It's like a mythical monster with the head of a beautiful maiden, the body of a lion, and the tail of a poisonous serpent. The final destiny of the world, with its pleasures and cruelty, is poison and eternal death.
Therefore, God has ordained matters so that the sins of the world end up bringing us blessing. So also the persecutions of the world aren't useless, but God intended for them to increase our blessings. So when the world tries to harm us, it ends up serving us and making us better people.
So we see that the entire Bible and all the early church fathers agree that those who try to harm us end up being very useful to us if we patiently endure the suffering. That is why Peter says, "Who will harm you if you are devoted to doing what is good?" (1 Peter 3:13). And we read in the Psalms, "No enemy will take him by surprise. No wicked person will mistreat him" (Psalm 89:22). But how can our enemies not harm us when they try so hard to kill us and sometimes even succeed? It's precisely when they harm us that they do us the most good. If we are wise, we understand we're living in the middle of blessing and evil at the same time. It's amazing how God in his goodness moderates it all!
I like the image of deception: a head of a beautiful maiden, the body of a lion, but the tail of a poisonous serpent.
I like that God moderates it all, and that both blessing and evil are operating at the same time.
This way, our hope is in Him.