Joy. For many, joy is a reflection of one’s circumstances. For others, it is a state of being. When we think about what truly gives us joy, many times we focus on how the physical world has impacted our lives, not the spiritual. Joy should not be defined by our understanding of it, especially when it comes from a relationship with Christ.
Religious persecution weighs heavily on our hearts as we continually receive updates from the field, of attacks, illegal arrests, Bible-burning and several other forms of physical and emotional harassment. As Christians, our first instinct is to pray for peace and understanding so that people can be free of pain and suffering, but their prayer requests are very different.
Despite the pain of religious persecution, people are embracing God’s joy and peace as they stand firm in their faith. Churches and villages are requesting that we send more resources, and to pray for resolve as they encounter those who are against Christianity. Spreading God’s Word and learning of his grace and glory, brings a joy that is not a reflection of their circumstances, but is a result of their relationship with Christ.
Thirty years ago, Pastor Mauricio experienced religious persecution when ministering to the people of Ecuador. Pastor Mauricio was shunned and beaten for sharing the Word of God, but he relied on Christ’s joy and strength to stand strong in his faith. He gave his worries to the Lord and remained “joyful in hope and patient in affliction” (Romans 12:12). Now, entire villages have come to know Christ, because Pastor Mauricio focused on his relationship with God, and His goodness and faithfulness.
Today we pray for joy, as we provide resources to Christians throughout the world who are sharing the goodness of God and His love and grace. Learn more about how we are supporting churches in persecuted countries.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Luke 2:47 (NKJV)