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Did God promise to protect Christians from persecutions and trials?

  | Christian Solidarity International

The title is very relevant in a time like this when many Christians are lamenting and asking questions about why God allows them to go through pain, persecution and suffering after they have given their lives to Christ.

Many of us in Nigeria are finding it difficult to comprehend why God is not protecting Christians from terrorists. Did God really promise to always protect us from attacks? Throughout the entire New Testament, Jesus made clear assertions that Christians should be ready to endure persecutions and attacks (John 15:20, John 10:28, Revelation 2:9-10).

The confusion is that the messages that we are hearing in churches contradict the words of Christ and the reality on the ground. I have heard pastors preach that Christians are not born again to suffer again and that anyone who remains poor or sick after becoming a Christian is a disgrace to Christianity. This is the rhetoric that prompts Christians to feel that God is reneging on His promises. Is it not obvious that God allows trials, troubles, and pain so that we can be partakers of the suffering of Christ in order to be qualified to reign with Him? (2 Timothy 2:12).

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All over the world, Christians are persecuted, killed, discriminated against, marginalized, impoverished, raped, robbed and intimidated simply because they are associated with Christ. I have come to accept the fact that Christianity, instead of shielding us from certain dangers and persecutions, exposes us to several unfavorable conditions. The political system of the world works against Christians because God has allowed it. All these things that we suffer now are nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later (Romans 8:18).

A look at the foundation of Christianity will help us to understand why God is not protecting us from persecutions and trials that are faith-based. Christianity was borne on the cross where the blood of Christ was shed for the remission of the sins. The cross is the centerpiece of Christianity and anyone who becomes a Christian is automatically grafted into the cross-journey. Jesus was emphatic about this: “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Mathew 10:38).

God is not the author of confusion. He cannot call us to partake in His suffering and arise to protect us against the same thing that He has called us into.

Our inability to understand the plans and purposes of God is the root cause of our disappointments. We expect things that are simply not promised in His Word.

There is no doubt that there are biblical promises of divine protection, but whether they are for persecuted Christians is what we really need to critically look at. Claiming all scriptural promises in the Old Testament and neglecting all that Christ has told us misses the broader picture. Jesus told us to be prepared because persecution is inevitable. “Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also” (John 15:20). Instead of asking “why, God?” We should count it all joy that Christ has found us worthy to be partakers of His experiences.

Jesus encouraged us to brace up and endure the suffering and pains associated with the cross (Revelation 2:10). George Bernard, the author of the hymn “The Old Rugged Cross” understood the mystery of the cross and was convinced that he would one day exchange the Cross with a crown. Jesus assured us of the safety of our salvation (John 10:28-29). He promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). He also promised to finish the good work he has begun in us (Philippians 1:6). He promised to guard us from the evil one (2 Thessalonian 3:3). But never did He promise to protect us from persecution and trials.

Let us pray that God will wake us up from our complacency and give us the grace to stand firm and endure the hazards of Christianity with the understanding that He who called us is able to fulfill His promise of everlasting life.

Oscar Amaechina is the president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel to where no one has neither preached nor heard about Jesus. He is the author of the book Mystery Of The Cross Revealed.  

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