You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
II Timothy 2:3
This word for hardship means to “suffer evil”, or more literally, to experience painful suffering. Paul knew suffering well, and Timothy knew the many sufferings that Paul had to endure as a faithful servant of Christ. Timothy was not told these things so he should fear, but that he should be prepared.
When I served in the military, we were told a year ahead of time when we would deploy. We were told what we could expect, the hostilities, what we would have to endure and what tasks lay before us. My specific profession meant I would be constantly in danger: prone to ambush from the enemy, working in enemy territory behind enemy lines, faced almost daily with enemy explosive devices, and so on. We were not told these things so that we could fear them, but that we could prepare for the fight to come. We spent the time we had training, preparing, ensuring we were fit both physically and mentally for the war we would fight.
And so, this is the word of the Lord spoken to me on January 22, 2020: “Persecution is coming, but rest knowing that He holds the stars in His hands”. Until now the church has experienced trouble and difficulties, but there is a time soon when severe persecution of the church will come. This is not cause to fear, but to prepare for the spiritual war that is on the horizon.
Believers have been asleep, the church in America has been complacent, but now is the time to wake up and to repent, to watch and pray like never before. Use each day the Lord has given, seek Him as a vital necessity. Read your Bible, pray, and worship each day. Serve the church, get involved in ministry. The Lord has given us time to prepare, how are you using it?
“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41).