Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.
1 Peter 4:12-13
I’m a traveler and I’ve always had an adventurous spirit since I was a child. I used to tell my parents how one day I was going to travel the whole world. In late 2016, when the Lord called me to ministry, I believed that I was called to do mission work in Latin American countries. I didn’t know what that meant but I was thrilled to be apart of this new adventure. I didn’t know that three years later I would actually be in the middle of Peru praying, healing the sick, casting out demons — none of it! Even while I was there I still couldn’t believe my eyes most days. It was like everything that I’d read in the Gospels that Jesus did and said we would do were coming to pass. I was shook!
In 2019, he planted in my heart to move to Houston, Texas. I spent over a year praying over this and trying to wrap my head around why He wanted me to do this and what I was supposed to do when I got there. So, since I’m a writer, I scheduled a trip for this writer’s conference that I wanted to attend for a chance to network with other writers and to figure out why the heck God wanted me in Houston. I took my first trip out there and surprised my family from my mission team. We had a great time reconnecting and fellowshipping with one another, and I couldn’t explain it but it felt so right. I was beginning to understand why the Lord wanted me there. But then as I prepared to make my way to this writer’s conference, everything went wrong. I mean, absolutely EVERYTHING went wrong. I didn’t have my book printed, I didn’t pack a formal outfit, I went to purchase an outfit and it ripped; I could go on and on about how terrible it was! It didn’t stop there. When I got to the conference, over an hour late, the speakers that I went to see wouldn’t give me the time of day. I felt very shut out and my trip ended poorly because of it. To top it off, I still didn’t fully understand why God wanted me to be there!
So, now in 2020 God still has Houston on my heart, He still has mission work on my heart, and I can’t go anywhere because of COVID-19. This is the time where I’d have money from work, school, and my savings to be able to purchase good tickets for the trips I need to make. Yet, God has me right here in Atlanta. Even if I wanted to go somewhere, it wouldn’t matter because everything is shut down and everyone is stuck in quarantine just like me. I can barely even go to my own church let alone do ministry somewhere else!
Everyday I’m praying for God’s protection and provision for my family and others as we endure is this pandemic together. Everyday I’m seeing healings! I’m seeing people recover “on their own” (by God’s grace), I’m watching the numbers go down, and I’m rejoicing. But right as I start to see things get better, they get worse. My heart starts getting troubled thinking about those who are falling ill with no hope for recovery. I start thinking, “Lord, why? When will this all be over? How long will this take?”
I asked my partner, who’s a medical student, how long he anticipated this quarantine would be and when things would get back to normal. He said, “Honestly, Carly, it might not be until towards the end of the year before things will begin to feel normal again.” He explained to me all of the factors that had to be considered. He predicted that we would see a gradual decrease in the spread of this infection and then a rapid spike because of how many asymptomatic people would be discovered as having been carriers of this virus. Again, my heart began to feel troubled by this.
But as I remembered that today was Passover (I know, I’m a terrible Christian!) I was reminded of the all of the events that took place before Jesus was handed over to be executed. I remembered the Last Supper and how Jesus explained what was going to happen to His body. I remember Him explaining how one of His followers was going to betray Him. I remember Jesus explaining to Peter, the very one who claimed to love Him, how he was going to betray Him three times before morning. And now this scripture, Luke 22:52-53: “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour— when darkness reigns” After Jesus came down from pleading on the Mount of Olives, was betrayed with a kiss by Judas, and arrested by the guards; Jesus makes a powerful statement: “But this is your hour—when darkness reigns”
Who is ‘your‘ that Jesus is speaking of?
Yes, He was talking to Judas. Yes, He was talking to the chief priests. Yes, He was talking to the guards and all others that were physically present. But I believe that Jesus was speaking to the one behind all evil. I believe He was talking to our Enemy—Satan. I was telling someone recently that most people don’t have a God problem, most people have a Satan problem. Most people can wrap their heads around a good God but most people struggle with an evil Enemy that wants to steal, kill, and destroy us. Most people relate something evil to someone physical rather than spiritual (see Ephesians 6:12). They want someone tangible they can blame for the world’s aches and pains. But if Jesus believed in the Devil, we have to also.
Jesus was telling us that there is a time when evil WILL reign. There is a time when Satan will have authority on the earth to do as he pleases, more than you think he does now. There is a time when God’s people will have to endure similarly to Jesus. It is written. Jesus says that trials and tribulations WILL come…but He has overcome them all! (John 16:33) The truth is, things will get worse before they get better. I believe this to be Biblical and historically true. When the Israelites were enslaved and Moses was sent to deliver them, things got worse before they got better. When Harriet Tubman led slaves to freedom, things got worse before they got better. When the Allies were fighting against the Axis powers in WW2, things got worse before they got better.
This is a known fact!
So, what I’m saying is the same thing Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in ME you may have peace. In this world you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Jesus endured a lot during His last days on earth but on the third day, He rose from the grave and conquered, death, sin, and Satan. We might be enduring a lot right now but we will rise! Jesus didn’t die and neither will we. Trials are coming but blessed are those that endure trials. Blessed are the ones that will see it until the end. Blessed are those that find peace in Christ when all hope seems lost.
We will rise.