But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives. Luke 21:12-19 (ESV)
Jesus predicted that dark times would be coming for His people, and now we are beginning to experience the fulfillment of His prophecy. Although there have been times of intense persecution for God's people throughout the history of the church in various places throughout the world, this persecution is growing and expanding into areas where it has never been before. Now, even in North America, we are witnessing active and unprecedented hostilities against believers. Although right now it is mild in comparison to other parts of the world, it is heating up even for us! The time is coming when the rights and protections afforded us by our Constitution will be stripped away and we will be defenseless, humanly speaking, against a government that no longer fears God. Armies of special interest groups are beginning to march across the nation, caring for no one but themselves and their agendas. Standing across their path is the militant church of true disciples who are prepared and willing to die for their faith.
In this remarkable passage the Lord promises, quite surprisingly, that His disciples will be kept safe!!! "All of these terrible things are going to happen," He declares, "but not a hair of your head will perish." Note the irony of this statement. He tells His people that they will be betrayed, hated, punished, persecuted, and some of them will even be put to death, but in the end they will survive!
We know that God owns the entire universe. As heirs of God and joint heirs of our Lord, He has granted us this vast universe. Even if we should suffer and die for our faith, we will "gain our lives." Of course, we must endure and be courageous. We must remain faithful to Him all the way to the end. If we keep in mind, however, that ultimately we cannot be hurt, that reality should incentivize us to remain strong in Him. The wicked are nothing more than squatters, having no lasting and ultimate inheritance in our Father's kingdom. They will one day be swept away like chaff and their place will be no more, but the righteous will shine like stars in their Father's infinite universe.