During the night, when I could not sleep, the two biblical inputs from my day combined into a single, focused, hard-to-accept thought.
Input #1 – “Increase our faith.”
[Jesus said,] “So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” Luke 17:3-5
Commenting on this passage, David Early explains that confronted with such a radical teaching by Jesus, the discples responded simply by asking God to increase their faith. This was a hard truth for them to accept. It seemingly required more faith than what they currently had. The good news is that they realized that faith was the key issue. They would need to trust God in a greater way if they were going to accept and obey the truth Jesus had just taught.
Input #2 – “Blessed are the persecuted.” In an excellent blog advising Christians how to handle well on social media the situation surrounding the resignation of Brenden Eich, David Whiting writes, (Click on the link below to read David’s blog.)
Let’s remember that persecution is expected and Jesus said we are blessed when we are persecuted. So – this is good news, right? I doubt anyone sees this as good news (and neither do I). But it seems we don’t believe two phrases of Jesus: “blessed are the persecuted” or “if they persecuted me, they will persecute you”. Do we really believe that? (Click on the link below to read David’s blog.)
Combining these two thoughts, I responded to the very uncomfortable reality that Jesus said “Blessed are the persecuted…” with the words, “O Father, increase my faith.” It is hard to believe that we’re blessed when we’re persecuted. This seems to require more faith than I currently have. But, like the disciples, I can pray for more faith and God will grant it.