Rein Uuemõis is one of the most amazing — and humble — people I’ve ever encountered. He is a retired pastor in Tallinn, Estonia. When he was just nine years old, his father was taken away to Siberia. He was gone for three and a half years. The living conditions in Siberia were unspeakable. Those who guarded the prisoners had little concern about whether those prisoners lived or died. If they were worked to death or frozen to death, so be it. Being subjected to such conditions can change one’s appearance dramatically. When Rein’s father returned, the family barely recognized him. He, in turn, scarcely knew his children because they had grown and changed so much.
However, when his father returned, he came back, as Rein phrases it, as a “wholehearted believer.” Something had changed during his incarceration in Siberia. God had used that horrendous and grueling ordeal to draw Rein’s dad closer to Himself.
The Lord does not need to have what we might think of as ideal circumstances to do His work. He can cause His plans and purposes to be realized, in spite of dark and difficult times. Sometimes that can happen specifically because of those dark and difficult times.
Today, in our country, there is a seemingly ever-increasing anti-Christian sentiment — and in some cases even open hostility toward Christians — in both the society and the government. Christian-bashing, in many ways, is in vogue. Statements — made by media personalities or government officials about Christians and the Christian faith — would never be tolerated if such statements were made about Muslims or Hindus, but Christians are open targets.
Some people would say that the Lord can’t work in such circumstances, yet history would repeatedly deny such an idea. In the book of Acts, the Church grew initially by thousands at a time, under extreme persecution. Today, the nation with the most believers is China. Realistic estimates range to more than 200,000,000 Christians in that anti-God, Communistic society.
Someone recently sent me a profound quote. In the movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Albus Dumbledore says, “Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” What an apt description of our society today. Living as a true believer in Christ is not necessarily easy in an anti-Christian society, but it is still the right thing to do, and God will strengthen you to make it reality, if you ask Him.
If you’re waiting to do something until everything is perfect, you will be waiting far longer than necessary. Don’t allow the anti-Christian bent of our culture to stop you from trusting His faithfulness and sovereignty. God is still ruling and reigning. Even in the midst of difficult times, He will ultimately prevail.