“My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls.” Psalm 22:12 NLT
Tradition says the running of the bulls began in northeastern Spain during the 14th century. Why anyone would want to run down a crowded street with angry bulls chasing them is beyond me. The thought of being trampled or gored isn’t appealing. Even though it happens, people still do it. I’ve also watched wolves, wild dogs, and coyotes attack their prey. With teeth bared and mouths salivating, they circle, blind side, and eventually pounce on their victims.
Whether he actually was or not, the psalmist felt surrounded by enemies. His words were prophetic of how Jesus would later feel when His enemies eventually called for His death. In many countries-even America, Christians are under attack. The attack may involve jail time, beatings, or even death. Or it may be more subtle: prayer being taken out of schools, the Ten Commandments being removed from public places, the media ridiculing those who take a faith stand, or immoral ways of living being promoted as the norm.
When under attack for my faith, it is common for me to overreact. I can spew hateful words against those who attack me or promote ungodly lifestyles. I can act as if I’m better than them and walk around with my religious nose in the air. Or I can withdraw like a hermit and refuse to associate with anyone but my own kind. But there are better responses.
Praying for strength to endure is crucial. God never promises to take persecution away. In fact, He tells believers they will be persecuted. After all, Jesus was. He will, however, give strength to endure. Searching for God’s will in how to react to the attacks is also important. However I choose to react, it should be with love.
I can have confidence when I’m under attack. I’ve read the end of the Book. Good wins over evil. Believers triumph. Knowing that is not excuse for a haughty attitude, but knowing it does help me respond to faith attacks with a different outlook.
Being attacked for my faith also gives me reason to praise God. Faith attacks are a witness for Him. If I’m not being attacked in some manner, perhaps I’m not as verbal about my faith as I should be.
How do you respond when under attack for your faith?
Prayer: Father, give us the strength to stand when we come under attack for our faith.
Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA