“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead….” Romans 1:20
Last week, I walked on the beach…on a cloudy 50-degree day, with a brisk wind at my back. No sunbathers, no little kids chasing waves…just others bundled up as I was, out to get a bit of fresh air and exercise.
I remembered other beach days from the past—the first time I saw the ocean (at Galveston), another time with clear blue water where angel fish danced around my ankles, days of building sandy forts with my children, a warm morning looking for shells with a friend, a long walk with my husband at sunset with our toes in seafoam.
Something was a bit different about last week’s walk, though. There were few seashells on this stretch, and I took a closer look. Thousands of tiny holes dotted the sand along the water’s edge, revealing the presence of unseen creatures buried beneath layers of silt…watered by icy waves, unwilling to brace the cold morning air.
How much was below the surface? I pondered the number of crabs, snails, clams, and other sand-loving critters safely ensconced in their holes, concealed from shorebirds looking for snacks. Hidden. Drawing their nourishment from saltwater, in the ebb and flow of tides.
The beach, despite its barren appearance, was chock full of unseen life.
I thought of that beach two days later when our church hosted a missionary pastor for our annual missions conference. He spoke of the invisible church, underground in countries hostile to the Christian faith. He told how these small pockets of believers were growing by leaps and bounds, especially in southeast Asia.
Abundant life. Under the surface. Growing, by the Holy Spirit, through the “salt and light” spread by missionaries and local believers.
At a time when Western nations are experiencing a decline in traditional church attendance, especially during the pandemic, Christ’s church is growing in places where it is banned. It is flourishing below the surface, gathering courage and resources, spreading to other regions and unreached people.
If you are preparing to attend an Easter worship service, rejoice in the liberty of joining others in praise and singing on Jesus’ resurrection day. Pray for those who will celebrate in secrecy, that they may be protected from harm and persecution. Pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to breathe life into His underground church and give them boldness.
Invite others to join you at your church, reminding them that this is a beautiful privilege to enjoy in freedom together. Thank God for His enduring mercies, His promise of eternal life, and His unfathomable love…given to the visible church and the invisible.
Gracious Lord, remind us once again of the privilege in freely attending worship services. Strengthen our churches, guard our faith, and send revival from Your Holy Spirit. Cover the underground churches with Your mighty hand, allowing them to grow in spite of persecution. Bless all of us, O Lord, as we unite in one joyful chorus of praise on Easter Day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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