Ours is Endurance and Faith

“When we live in a world of violence long enough, it is easy to adopt violent means ourselves, especially when we know that our cause is righteous and the opposition is evil. Religious faith, especially when zealous, is no stranger to the exercise of violent force. And so St. John, having set down his counsel to endure, yokes it with a warning to not defect into violence. That would be just as bad as defecting into cowardly compliance. Had not Jesus, in as violent a scene as any of us will find ourselves, said, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword’? (Matt. 26:52). Killing the opposition is the sea beast’s [Revelation 13:1-10] way of solving its problems. It is not ours. Our is endurance and faith.

“This combination, endurance and faith, is not dumb passivity … The Christ-followers had learned something profound about sacrifice and death: endurance and faith are aggressive forces in the battle raging between God and the devil. It requires high energy to meet the sword with willed suffering, with embraced sacrifice.”

(Eugene Peterson, Reversed Thunder, p. 125)

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Reversed Thunder

“And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.” (Revelation 8:3-5)

Everyday God’s people are doing mighty things in and for the world: They pray.

God hears and gathers their prayers, fashions these into a thunderbolt, and strikes the earth with it.

The earth shakes. Lives are changed, the sick are healed, blind eyes are opened, lepers are cleansed, the prisoners are set free, the hungry are fed, and the poor are enriched. Storms are stilled, light shines in the darkness, life bursts forth from the tombs, and dead bones now live!

“Prayer reenters history with incalculable effect. Our earth is shaken daily by it.” (Eugene Peterson)

Let us pray!