Advent and Alertness

“When have Christians been promised physical security? In the early church it is evident that they did not even expect it! Their security, their true life, was rooted in God; and neither the daily insecurities of the decaying Roman Empire, nor the organized persecution which followed later, could affect their basic confidence. In my judgement, the description which Christ gave of the days that were to come before his return is more accurately reproduced in this fear-ridden age than ever before in human history.…When God decides that the human experiment has gone on long enough, yes, even in the midst of what appears to us confusion and incompleteness, Christ will come again. This is what the New Testament teaches. This is the message of Advent. It is for us to be alert, vigilant and industrious, so that his coming will not be a terror but an overwhelming joy” (J. B. Phillips, Watch for the Light).

It seems that in just about every age it has been dangerous to be a Christian. In many parts of the world it still is. To have Christianity accepted and popular is an anomaly in the history of the world. So why is it that we think that God wants us to be safe all the time?

What God promised was that He would be with us, regardless. Jesus promised that we would have hard times, that not every day would be roses and sunshine, even that we would suffer. Not potentially or possibly, but eventually, we will suffer.

The only way to avoid suffering and hardship is to compromise away your convictions and beliefs so the world will like you more. The only way to truly fit in with a sinful world is to become sinful. The only way to be able to exist comfortably in a maladjusted world is to become maladjusted.

But if we follow Jesus, we can expect the same as Jesus. He was misunderstood and mocked. He was scorned and spat upon. He was abandoned and eventually He was murdered. He said that if we follow Him and do what He says, the same could happen to us. He said we would 100% definitely see trouble and pain.

But still the promise of Advent remains. He will be with us. He will strengthen us to endure whatever He allows us to undergo. And one day He will return to restore all that we have sacrificed and lost, and He will make everything right. All that we have suffered for will finally come to pass and God’s love and mercy will win in the end.

The joy in the end will be so much more than worth any pain or loss we endure along the way.

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