On the bucket lists of many Christians is a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It is a different experience when the bible stories come to life:
- This is where Jesus walked on water
- This is where Jesus taught the beatitudes
- This is the area where once the temple stood
- This is where Jesus was born and where he was crucified
- This is were the first miracle happened in Cana
The sad reality, however, is that in the past 50 years more than half of the Christians have left the Holy Land. Why? To avoid persecution.
The Gospel tells us that there will come the hour, “When everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.”
According to statistics, every month, an average of 345 Christians are killed because of their faith and about 105 churches are burned or vandalized. This reality makes the Christian faith the most persecuted faith in the world.
Now the challenge is, what do we do amidst this persecution? Three things:
- If the world hates the Church, it is only because it is doing what is right. Hence the challenge to persevere to do what is right. As the saying goes, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the dark.”
- Face the enemy. Obviously those who do wrong are powerful and big. With God though, nothing is impossible. If David was able to beat Goliath, we remember the saying, “If God is with us, who can be against us.”
- Suffer with Joy. This may sound contrasting but the reality is why it is so hard to suffer, we are suffering with Jesus. This is the mark of a true disciple.
With what is happening with the world, obviously it is going to be more difficult because God is removed. But being gifted with faith, we stand up for what is right, true and good.