We are all familiar with the children's game of hide and seek. It's a light-hearted game and rarely goes beyond the playful exclamations and counting, of running about and finding the hidden players.
Far different is the hiding that is necessary when wicked people are in control of a situation or of a country. Religious persecution is routine in some countries, and we've talked before about how precious the Bible is to people in these areas. It is a rare blessing for them to be able to gather with other believers and worship and praise God. We've noted how blessed we are to have freedom of religion in many parts of the world.
It's easy for those of us in the free world to denounce the leaders of countries who allow persecution. It is easy to point the finger at those in our own country who seem bent on reducing our cherished freedoms. Much harder is the effort to see within them, a person loved by our Father. But they are there, and they are loved.
Even when we see humanity at its worst; when we see baseness, immorality, or intolerance, we need to remember that this is a person (or persons) who needs the working of the Holy Spirit in their life, and that we can best help them by praying for them. Hearts can be changed, and then lives restored to their full potential, if only an individual will turn to God. And prayers for them are the will of our Father. Paul tells us:
In Ezekiel, chapter 9, we see a plan from God that marked those who were sickened and disheartened by the sin of the world. These people were to be marked, and then saved from the destruction (judgment) that was to come. If we are disheartened and distressed by the sin in our world, we need first to separate ourselves from the sin, and then to pray for the sinners. There's an excellent example for us to follow, in the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel --- Daniel is imploring God to turn away His fury from the wickedness of the land. He includes himself in the equation, asking forgiveness for himself and his countrymen, and praying that the unconverted neighboring countries will be blessed. Check out verses 16 through 19, and you will see.I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
I Timothy 2:1-5
Jesus gave us another example to model our lives upon, in Matthew 5:44-45:
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;We don't know for sure what the future may bring for those of us who are Christians, or for our children and our grandchildren. But if we do have to go into hiding, and worship and praise in secret places, we will need to remember these verses . . . and pray for those who "despitefully use" us. God will help us to pray, and He will watch over us as we do.
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.