‘You yourselves must watch out. You will be arrested and taken to court. You will be beaten in the synagogues; you will stand before rulers and kings for my sake to tell them the Good News. But before the end comes, the gospel must be preached to all peoples. And when you are arrested and taken to court, do not worry ahead of time about what you are going to say; when the time comes, say whatever is then given to you. For the words you speak will not be yours; they will come from the Holy Spirit.’
Read Mark 13: 1-13
Much of what you suffer – physically, emotionally, or otherwise – is common to all humanity. But there is a suffering which is peculiar to those who bear Christ’s name. The Christian life is not an escape from struggle, persecution and conflict. Through your baptism you not only share in Christ’s resurrection and life. You also share in his rejection, suffering and death.
The devil wants your experience of trouble to discourage you, to cause you to doubt God, to make you question whether you have faith. But God’s word teaches that your experience of trouble is a sign not of God’s absence but of his gracious, faith-creating work in you. That means that hidden under your suffering is the activity of the Holy Spirit. Your experience of trouble is an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to bear witness to Christ through you. And not only your witness, but even your cries to God for help, even your unspoken longing for wholeness, come not from you, but ‘from the Holy Spirit’.
Come, Holy Spirit. Take away my fear, so that I may see every experience of trouble as an opportunity to confess my faith in Jesus as Lord. Amen.
by Adam Cooper, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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