We in America often worry about persecution. We see many of the religious freedoms dwindling away by the actions of elected leaders and activist courts. But persecution in the United States is not at the level it is around the rest of the world. Harpers Magazine has done an expose' about Christian persecution in the Middle East, documenting that ISIS, job discrimination, and Islamic persecution has resulted in the Christian population dwindling from 1.4 million in Iraq, for example, to less than 300,000. In West Africa, Islam is pushing out the Christian population. China communists are doing the same there. All the more reason that the right of religious freedom in America remain strong and unchallenged.
If not for America, the world would be a dark place. We send aid, protection, food, and the gospel around the world. Even though our country is in a moral decline, and the leadership we elect are often evil deceivers, Americans have stood the test of time, using religious freedom and freedom of speech to advance the kingdom of God. No matter how convoluted and circuitous the path America has taken, Americans more often than not have stood in the breach and have held the line for what is right and good. For a generation, it appears we have taken leave of our good senses and have allowed our nation to slowly decline. We are now starting to face the consequences of this lack of proper standing and engagement.
But take courage, and be encouraged. As is written 1 Peter 2:9,"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." You, yes you, are a prophetic person who was born specifically for this time. When you accepted Christ, you may not have understood about counting the cost. Jesus said that we would have to take up the cross to follow him. Those costs are becoming more evident in this day and age for those of us who live in America. Our leadership is poor. Our nation is in decline. Our Christianity is being challenged. As is our faith. But you are a chosen generation.
Peter had a lot to say about persecution. He knew it well. He writes in 1 Peter 3:12, "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous. And his ears are open unto their prayers: But the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." He asks, "And who is he that will harm you, if you be followers of that which is good." Peter said it is better to suffer for righteousness' sake, verses 14-15, "happy are you: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ." You are a prophetic person. Rise up. Stand in the gap!