“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.”Matthew 5:11-12
The Spirit brought Ezekiel to the exiles in Chaldea and gave him a mission. He was to share with them the word that God had given for His people, the children of Israel. This was the church of Ezekiel’s day. The Spirit had Ezekiel bring a message because God never forgets the church, especially when it is enduring persecution.
Christ Himself was persecuted during His earthly ministry. The apostles suffered at the hands of both Jews and Gentiles. In the West where we are usually comfortable and secure, it can be hard to imagine real persecution. But throughout history and around the world the church has experienced persecution more often than not. Through suffering, Christ identifies with those who suffer with Him. He asked the Father to send the Spirit for the express purpose of comforting the church.
None of us ever goes looking for suffering. But we do know the Lord comes looking after us in the midst of our trials. Remember to pray for the persecuted church around the world as she longs for her reward in heaven.
Lord, bless and protect Your sons and daughters who suffer mightily. Keep them faithful, and turn the hearts of their persecutors for Your glory. Amen