The Still Small Voice

Perspectives Through Pressure: Holding Firm

 

Chapter Seven, Part Five

 

Holding Firm

‘If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go . . . This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.’ (Revelation 13:10)

We have seen that the Lord Jesus does not mince His words. He warned us plainly that because the world hated Him, it would hate us too.7

A friend of ours used to minister behind the Iron Curtain. One afternoon he made his way to a barn in the country. It being considered too dangerous to announce details of the meeting openly, the believers had to seek the Lord as to when and where it would be held. My friend was amazed to find the barn full to overflowing. When he asked what they would like him to speak on, he was humbled to be told that they would like to learn more about listening please because they did not consider themselves very good at it. You could have fooled him!

Even without the stimulus of overt persecution we are wise if we make it our goal to seek the Lord with equal determination. There is nothing in Scripture to indicate that God intended such intimacy to be reserved only for times of extreme pressure!

When we are in the midst of trouble, however, most of us long to hear the Lord telling us what He is going to do to rescue us from it. It is worth reflecting for more than a moment on the all the Lord achieves by not leaping too quickly to answer our get-me-out-of-here prayers.

John Bunyon chose to remain in prison rather than to kowtow to the authority’s offer of immediate release, provided that he agreed not to hold any more public meetings.

Tormented by the love he felt for his family (and in particular for his young blind daughter), Bunyon found the hardest thing to bear were pleas from so-called friends, who urged him in no uncertain terms to accept these poison-tipped offers. They actually dared to say that the stand he was taking amounted to nothing less than a dereliction of his duty towards his family!!

Under the influence of what he later came to characterize as Giant Despair, John Bunyan wrote, ‘I felt as though I was pulling the roof down over my own head, but I must do it, I must.’ It was while he was in prison that he wrote ‘Pilgrim’s Progress,’ perhaps the most influential Christian book of all time. Think, too, of all the inmates in Ravensbruck concentration camp, who came to faith precisely because the Lord did not protect Corrie Ten Boon and her family from being betrayed. He did miraculously arrange her release, however, (through a supposed clerical error!) after which she set up a ministry to help emotionally damaged victims of the war, just as her sister had foreseen in a dream. Millions have subsequently read Corrie’s books, or seen the film The Hiding Place. How grateful we can be that these saints did not compromise!

For Reflection and Prayer

For the joy that was set before You, Lord Jesus, You set Your face like flint and went up to Jerusalem in the full knowledge of all that You were going to suffer. If You still have more to do in and through the pressure Your people are experiencing, may their reaching out to hear the Still Small Voice be far more than just a desperate desire to hear a word of release.

May each one of us live each day to the full, and make use of the opportunities You send our way. In the name of the One who ushered in the Kingdom by refusing to opt out. Amen.

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