Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
“ASSIGNMENT UNDERGROUND 2021”
Series’ prompt: Guest Interview
Underground: literal definition: beneath the earth; figurative: hideaway, safe haven, concealed–including “in plain site”.
Sometimes both literal and figurative applications are combined, for example, “underground railroad” (railroad as a travel metaphor but with very real “train stations”), its roots in the United States stemming from the 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery and the tireless efforts of “evangelical colonists” before and during the Civil War who helped the slaves from Africa escape to freedom in the North and into Canada.
Our history includes the enslavement of other ethnic groups as well, most notably those brought here from Ireland beginning also in the early 1600s, but the solutions our ancestors provided specifically for African slaves were and are universally applied through the 13th Amendment (1865) to our Constitution and subsequent legislation.
Assignment Underground 2021
Ironically, the “underground” that may very soon emerge/submerge in this same nation that has become increasingly anti-Christian may now be for evangelicals, themselves, and everybody else seeking aid and refuge for one reason or another here in 2021 and for a few more years, at least.
But from our heritage as believers, particularly in this “cancel culture” era where as a civilization we must maintain real history to help us learn and survive today and make real progress in the future, I want to remind and encourage everyone that we have access to some good background information (not to mention certain impressions, prompts, the gift of discernment–and biblical prophecies).
I will draw from many of these sources for this series as well as from my archives while I will continue to keep my eyes, ears, mind, and heart, attuned to unfolding events (coming so “quickly,” now) and related information, to the best of my ability, Lord willing.
Considering all the above, this year of “going back to normal” that the world implies might be happening–there’s always confusion over that–our “old freedoms” of life without masks and social distancing restrictions will also mean something completely different for believers, if you think about it.
For believers in the United States, it means “going back” in a sense to the prompts, practices, and legislative underpinnings that freed tens of thousands of literally enslaved Africans (and other) Americans as applied in our 2021 context to all who are caught up in this “bottom up, top down, inside out” era of rapidly metastasizing enslavement of another kind of evil today–this evil, however, gone global.
But this series will also include perspectives from other times and places.
For the battle of good versus evil is neither new nor confined to one locale.
THE BELIEVERS’ MISSION AND MARCHING ORDERS
Although the practical applications are quite different in our century, we follow the same spiritual mission statement and marching orders first issued by our Commander in Chief Jesus Christ over two-thousad years ago:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)
The outworking of this assignment has always included ministering to both physical and spiritual needs, both temporal and eternal.
Each of us has our own assignment(s) in this effort for such a time as this, whether it’s a figurative place or position, whether it’s preaching, teaching, intercessory praying, encouraging, healing, guiding, and/or providing more practical provisions and knowledge.
Whether it’s in our current location, or someplace else.
Whether we are ultimately freed both physically and eternally–and help others regarding same–or, for some, we are physically detained (or imprisoned); nevertheless, the commission continues.
Because God’s Word is never enslaved, so to speak.
As put in St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy (Paul writing from prison):
But the word of God cannot be chained [bound, restricted]! (v. 9)
It gets the job done, as in:
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)
It’s just that we can find ourselves in some pretty interesting circumstances, perhaps even very unexpected, both right where we are or somewhere else, as God “sends His Word forth” in and through each of us, if we allow Him to do so.
But it is very important to remember that another literal expression can also be thought of in a spiritual context: We’re not in Kansas, anymore.
That’s for sure. (The linked interview above, “Safe Haven,” presents this very well along with some practical survival tips.)
For my part, because I am called to be an encourager and a teacher and because, like many other believers, for some time now I have had a sense of the Church “going underground” in various senses, I believe it’s time to re-feature previous posts* on both literal and spiritual survival perspectives and techniques, many of which are based on the experiences and advice from earlier Christians in the contexts of their times, some of which are from certain teaching assignments I drew up for my students, others from military and other secular sources, and still more may be based on new information.
Be encouraged, and I pray you will also find something or several useful suggestions in this series.
WHAT BETSIE SAID
I can’t think of a better way to start the series than to quote Betsie ten Boom of The Hiding Place fame who, along with her sister Corrie, was incarcerated in one of Hitler’s concentration camps during World War II.
Her words to us today illustrate how God frees His people in differing ways.
But frees us all, He does.
Whereas Betsie’s literal freedom from the concentration camp was through death due to illness, Corrie’s, ten days later, was due to a “clerical error” that put her back out on the street–just before all women of her age group were murdered, and Corrie spent the rest of her life into her nineties telling of how God sustained and provided for both of them while they were imprisoned and beforehand.
And to the greater, eternal freedom and provision, Corrie did what Betsie commissioned her by spreading this sustaining wisdom for then, and for, I believe, now too:
There is no pit so deep that He [God] is not deeper still.
Put your spiritual seat belts on, my brothers and sisters in Christ, take heed, and carry on.
I’m right here with ya.
COMING UP NEXT: More voices from the concentration camps. Later, military survival tips and persectives, biblical wartime narratives, and “good versus evil” lessons and guidance from literature (because at some point, we know the news–fake and real–and we want and need more than just seven-second sound bytes and memes).
*Or don’t wait! at least for the re-posts, and peruse the “category posts” in their original contexts here and here (many are featued in both lists) for what might interest you of both spiritual and/or practical survival tips.
AND AS ALWAYS: If you like devotional booklets, here is a free, downloadable booklet based on the verses of one of the all-time most-accessed Psalm “for hard times:”