Blessed Are The Persecuted
By Cheri Cowell
You have experienced the final beatitude, haven’t you? My professor asked rhetorically after hearing my tale of persecution. He then went on to explain to the class that although the last beatitude says we are blessed if we are persecuted for His sake, when it is happening, we won’t feel too blessed. While I was experiencing the worst of the persecution, I found the psalms to utter what I could not express to God in my prayers—the pain and alienation was too great. Within the psalms, those who are persecuted will find an echo of their deep emotions.
Seventy-two psalms, almost half of the book, are about persecution at the hand of enemies. If you are a Christian and doing God’s bidding, you will experience persecution. The persecution is never enjoyable, but Jesus did promise us we would be blessed. How? One of the ways is through the closeness of Christ during these dark days. I do not want to experience the pain of persecution again, but I am almost willing to do so, if I could be that close to Him again.
The Bible doesn’t say so, but I imagine Jesus prayed these words during the dark days of His persecution and abandonment at the cross. If you, or someone you know, are in the throes of persecution, there is comfort in reciting the psalms. Because Jesus has been there, He knows exactly how you feel. As you repeat the words of the psalms, know He is echoing them in the ear of His Heavenly Father, with all of the knowledge of someone who has experienced such pain.
PRAYER: Lord, hear my cries to You. I fall before You, not with words of my own, for my pain is too deep for me to express, but You have felt my pain and You know the words I am unable to form. Thank you for interceding on my behalf before the Father, because You alone know what I need.
“He will surely give me shelter in the day of danger; he will hide me in his home; he will place me on an inaccessible rocky summit. Hear me, O Lord, when I cry out! Have mercy on me and answer me!” Psalm 27:5,7 NET.
Today’s devotion is by Cheri Cowell, Asbury Theological Seminary student, known as author and speaker on the deep questions of faith. Her first book Direction: Discernment for the Decisions of Your Life (Beacon Hill) is being called a biblically-sound, no nonsense approach to making God-centered life choices. For comments or to inquire about her speaking schedule, visit www.DirectionAndDiscernment.com/.