I know people say things like "the younger generation is leaving the church," and that "Christians are a shrinking minority." I know that polls point to the sure disappearance of Christians, but I also know something to encourage our fainting hearts—Christianity is thriving in God's hands, and Christians are not a dying breed.
We never will be.
An Overarching Theme
As I study Scripture—one book of the Bible at a time—the more I see the overarching story of our faithful God preserving His people through everything.
I recently studied the book of Judges, in which God keeps His covenant with a rebellious, distracted, idolatrous people. Though their rebellion often leads them into slavery and oppression, God's people never perish from the earth.
Then I studied the book of Ruth, in which God keeps His covenant by welcoming a foreign woman into Jesus' family line. In doing so, God preserves His people through a Messiah who comes for the nations and from the nations.
I'm currently studying the book of Esther in which God invites a young, Jewish orphan to plead for—and ultimately save—the Jewish nation from annihilation. The Jews of the Diaspora were wondering, Are we still God's people? Will God still keep His covenant with us even though we have rebelled, even though our holy city is laid bare, our temple destroyed, our wall broken, and our people scattered? God's resounding answer to His people is, "Yes. I will always keep My covenant with you. Nothing can separate you from My love."
Regardless of setting, plot, time period, and main characters, every book of the Bible demonstrates God's faithful preservation of His people. Every book echoes the day God graciously led Noah and his family onto the ark and preserved them from His wrath and from destruction. Once my eyes were opened to God's never-ending commitment to His people, I imagine an ark splashing through every page of Scripture—in every circumstance, God has always held His people in His hand.
Can You See It, Too?
Look closely at the book of the Bible you are studying right now. Do you see evidence of God's original promise to Abraham?
"I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen. 12:2–3).
In the book you are studying, do you see God at work blessing, preserving, protecting, and growing His family?
All along—from ancient times to this very moment—God has loved us with an everlasting love, protected us with His great power, provided healing for our brokenness, and kept His covenant with us.
Every time we break our side of the covenant and wonder, Could God still love us? He answers with undeniable commitment, "Yes. I will always love you."
Every time kings and nations rise against us, we wonder, Will we make it through this hatred? He answers with certainly, "Yes. I will win this battle for you."
Every time nature rails against us, frightening us with its power, we wonder, He answers, "Yes. I will preserve you."
God's desire is that as we study His Word, we will notice and count His acts of faithfulness to people of all personalities, ages, nations, callings, and circumstances. His desire is that we would grow in our understanding that He remains the faithful God He has always been. Just as He preserved His people in the past, He will continue to preserve us today.
Which circumstances cause you to question His faithfulness?
Which personalities cause you to doubt that following Him is truly better than any other pursuit?
Which statistics cause you to despair that Christians will endure—and thrive—to the end of time?
Which headlines cause you to believe that God isn't intimately involved in every turn of events?
He'll Preserve Us to the End
Be encouraged to open your Bible and let your faith grow from the accounts you read. Bring your unbelief before your heavenly Father and ask Him for the gifts of understanding, faith, and hope. As we continue to walk humbly with our God, we will face today's circumstances, headlines, and statistics with the same confidence that the apostle Paul knew when he wrote:
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
"For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:31–39).
The whole story of Scripture bolsters our faith in our heavenly Father who is preserving His people because He loves us. Though you may be struggling against sorrow, sin, politics, culture, sickness, or hardship, do not fear.
It is good to be God's.
If we learn anything from Scripture, may it be this: that God will preserve His people to the end.
We can count on this:
O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the LORD, and he answered me from his holy hill. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. Arise, O LORD! Save me, O my God! . . . Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people (Ps. 3:1–8).
"I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you" (Jer. 31:3).