Prevailing In the Hard Place

I was born into “Christian America.” But now reside in a post-Christian culture.

Last month the Pew Foundation reported a further decline in Christianity. Just 63 percent of Americans self-identify as Christians, down from 75 percent a decade ago and 90 percent in 1950.

What are we to do as our slice of the pie continues shrinking—and more rapidly than before? How do we handle the arrogance and slander of radical secularism toward the church and us as its leaders? Do we resist? Fight back? Take to politics to level the playing field?

You’re guessing that the answer is “none of the above.” And, you probably think I’ll pull out a cliché from the Bible. And, you might be correct, but it is more than a cliché. It is a powerful promise of leaders prevailing in times of darkness.

Psalm 112 describes a god-fearing man as an overcomer. It may or may not be a messianic prophecy, but it surely applies to us as we seem to be losing ground to overwhelming forces.

I want to focus on just two verses as they appear in the updated New American Standard translation, “He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is upheld; he will not fear until he looks with satisfaction on his adversaries.

The suggestion we need not fear bad news during dark days. We can have a steadfast heart or unriled emotions. But the idea goes further in that the term steadfast relates to faithfulness and standing firm because God holds us up no matter what surrounds us.

The kicker, to me, is the promise to look with “satisfaction” on our adversaries. Some translations lean toward conquering our adversaries or at least badly beating them up. But to look with satisfaction might include building bridges, making friends or inviting them to follow us as we follow Christ.

I think satisfaction upon your adversaries means that you learn to love them. Jesus said, “…it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”

For me looking with satisfaction on my adversary means that we become friends. It’s a whole different thing than making war against the world. We are in warfare, but we’re going win it by being salt and light, quietly going about our business, making disciples penetrating our world with the love of God.

Comments drive this site–yours are welcome!