When Jesus looked into the future and predicted what would happen to His disciples, he said something very sobering, but also very encouraging. He said in Luke 21:12-13; “…they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.”
The sobering thing for the disciples was that even though the cause of Christ will eventually triumph, following Jesus will mean arrest, persecution and even death for some of them. But the encouraging thing is that though traumatic for them, God was sovereignly directing their witness. Paul spent two years in prison as a result of false charges brought by the Jewish Sanhedrin but it resulted in multiple occasions for testimony. He witnessed of Christ’s saving power in his life before the whole Jewish legal counsel, and three of the highest political officials in Palestine (Roman governors Felix & Festus and finally King Agrippa himself).
Like Paul we too must recognize and be prepared to witness to the power of God to save and change lives even when – especially when – we are presented with detours of adversity. Our mission in Hornell or Belfast must never be a come and see mission only, it must be a sovereignly directed go and tell mission! God’s stated purpose for us is to use us (v18) “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.”