Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. —1 Peter 5:8-9 (NLT)
Being together in persecution doesn’t sound very appealing. But whether we’ve experienced it personally—or know someone who has—persecution for faith in Jesus has touched us all in some capacity.
In 2017 a Nigerian pastor named Chibundu* went missing on the way to a church celebration. His car was later discovered on the side of the road. It was empty. With the activity of the local insurgent group nearby, it wasn’t difficult to imagine what happened to Chibundu.
“Though this hurts us,” one local pastor explained to his colleagues about the tragedy, “this is part of the risk we take. Jesus is worth the risk. Having our people know Jesus is worth the risk. Chibundu’s family knows that.” As the Nigerian community mourned the loss of their teammate, their focus sharpened on the goal of helping everyone know Jesus.
We will all experience some kind of trial or suffering because of our faith in Jesus (Jn. 16:33). God uses community to work in our grief, celebration and sanctification—and He uses it to work in our trials too.
The encouragement Paul gives us in 1 Peter 5:8-9 reminds us of this. Togetherness in persecution lives in the truth that God uses people in our lives to help strengthen us during those struggles.
* Name changed
Points to Ponder: