This article originated with a sister organization that works with 316NOW in China. It is a wonderful example of trust in our God’s grace and power. Because “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us,” we are “convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39). Our Father must keep his promise to work in everything for our benefit.
Reins are about to tighten
If you're following media reports from China, you might be noticing some common themes. The central government is consolidating power, and they are "tightening the reins" on all activities outside of their control. Leaders have specifically targeted the vast networks of house churches and "unregistered religious activity" and have put several measures in place to restrict them.
These new regulations have hit close to home. One local Chinese pastor from a neighboring community was threatened with arrest. Other local brothers and sisters were threatened with fines of up to 50,000 yuan ($7560) if they were caught fellowshiping with foreigners. Some private Christian schools have been forced out of their buildings. One of the house churches in our fellowship has moved locations to reduce visibility.
But God is still in control
However, the inconsistent application of many of these new laws means that most of our activity has been able to continue. We thank the Lord for that. He has led and guided and protected this ministry for over seventeen years. We do not feel any direct pressure or imminent threats, and we are well-supported by our stateside board and staff.
At the same time, we praise the Lord for something more subtle.
God blesses the persecuted church. He works through these hard times to direct our eyes heavenward. He strips away what is less important and focuses our hope on the One who came, and the One who is to come.
God continues only to work good
"In all things, God works for the good of those who love him" (Romans 8:28). So we do not ask that he removes the trouble if it is his will to build his kingdom through that very trouble. We pray, simply, that his will be done.
In the meantime, it is "still day!" So we press on. We live and serve in his name, and to his glory.
More than conquerors
316NOW’s ministry is impacted by the same forces in China. But, since we have the same God as our sister organization, we also will press on.
In Jesus we will always be more than conquerors. So no matter what happens, God must be working for the good of those who love him.