12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. (Esther 4:12-14)
It is a tragic reality that being blessed by the Lord often leads to a disobedience towards God and vulnerability towards sin. We pray and fast fervently in times of need because we know that we are without and we are unable. We seek God and cry out to Him when challenges surround us because we know that in the absence of a savior we cannot go on. It is in the valleys and deserts of our walk with God where we see the most of Him, simply because we become aware that He MUST become the focus of our life. These periods are wonderfully fruitful in that we begin to restructure and reorganize the priority of God in our life. However, seeking to get out of the valley versus seeking to find God IN the valley can create two very different outcomes. Seeking God in order to get out of the valley can lead someone to become bitter and resentful when the valley becomes home. On the other hand, seeking to find God in the valley reveals God and becomes a home worthy of staying in as long as necessary.
We must prepare ourselves for the valley. We have been on the mountaintop for a while now, and many of us don’t have any recollections of what life in the valley was like. We have been blessed, and although we must rejoice in our blessings, we must proactively prepare ourselves for a life without, with no majority benefits, the life of discipleship that Jesus Christ has offered us from the beginning. To be a disciple is to count the cost and accept it willingly and joyfully. A Christian WILL experience persecution. A Christian WILL experience rejection. A Christian follows in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and therefore WILL suffer. This is not an exception or a possibility. As much as the fruit of His Spirit is our inheritance and our new life by the resurrection, so is His death on the cross by crucifixion.
The nature of our persecution and suffering may vary but to be persecuted and suffer for the name of Jesus is the cornerstone that unites all believers in name of Jesus around the world. Rejoice in what the Lord has provided for you and accomplished in your life. As Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say Rejoice!” Heed the life and words of Jesus Christ in regards to the persecution and suffering that awaits and, “WATCH.” Be alert and do not be caught unprepared. Have no fear, because the perfect love of Jesus casts out fear. We must not be foolish and we must not carelessly approach the cross. To be a Christian is to be united with the cross of Christ as much as we are united with the hope and glory of the empty tomb.