The most critical thing I have witnessed is the spirit of fear coming upon believers. Yes, we are being tested and that is a good thing. Those of us who are grounded need to be there for those who not as well grounded. Those who are being tested by the spirit of fear need to get their priorities “reset.”
29 His disciples *said, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. 30 Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:29-33 (NASB)
Not that I am a war monger, nor do I even like war or conflict at all, but I do get upset when I hear people say things about Jesus being the Prince of Peace that, according to them, Christians should never be in conflict with anyone. After all, Jesus is the Prince of Peace! Jesus is the Prince of Peace, but that means that through Him and Him alone, people can find peace with God. Any who seek that peace in any way other than through Him will never find it.
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2 (NASB)
The “we” in v1 is Paul and all genuine Christians. All in Christ have been justified by faith. That is why they are genuine. They did not become “saved” by works or being religious or keeping rules or walking an aisle or saying a specific prayer. No, they were “saved” by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9) As a result, God justified them, imputing Christ’s Righteousness to their account. Because of that, they have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. That means that they are no longer at enmity with God nor is God at enmity with them. Not only that, but they have also gained access by faith into God’s grace in which they stand. What that means is each individual has direct access to the throne of grace. They don’t have to go through any human High Priest or be just a small part of large group that gains access to God by being religious. No, Jesus Christ is our personal saviour and High Priest through whom we have access directly to God. God has promised that all whom He saves will be glorified in eternity. (Romans 8:28-30) What a blessed hope!
3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5 (NASB)
I have a T-shirt that I bought at the gift shop at the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial. I am a survivor of that act of domestic terrorism. I was just a block away from the blast. In any case, the T-shirt says on the front in big bold blue letters, “Hope Through Courage.” Well, I like to wear it, but those words do not really ring true to me. My hope comes via the good work God has done in my heart via the fires of sanctification. As I submit to my Lord in the fire I learn endurance. By patiently enduring these fires, God builds my character to become more Christlike. As a result, I have hope. My hope isn’t that I will have a lot of money or become well known or have an easy life. That is all temporal. My hope in in the eternal. No matter what my circumstances are like, it does not alter the fact that I belong to God and I have eternal life. I have eternity with my Lord awaiting. I can endure anything God allows to happen to me because God has poured His love via the Holy Spirit into my heart. I love Him more than I love life itself. Because of that I can say, “Though He slay me, I will worship Him!”