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Two recent articles on the website highlighted some amazing features of a tiny little animal that lives in most ponds – the hydra. This little creature is not to be confused with the multi-headed serpent which Hercules slew in Greek mythology. Yet, the real hydra undoubtedly got its name from the myth. The hydra is serpentine in shape and has numerous (five to eight) tentacles at its head. The hydra uses these to pull food (usually tiny invertebrates, e.g. Daphnia, Cyclops) to its mouth.

Hydras have caught the fascination of the scientific community because they do not age. Their bodies never get old, break down, and die. In a list of the top ten longest living animals, the hydra is at the very top, with a life-expectancy of greater than 10,000 years! In fact, if a hydra is separated from all predators and provided with food, it will live forever.

Another reason why the little hydra is so noteworthy is its ability for regeneration. But it’s not just regeneration, but reorganization. You see, not only does the hydra regrow parts which have been lost to a predator. The hydra can be torn into many pieces and reassemble its broken pieces. And in this regrouping, after being shredded, the hydra will often not only rebuild itself. It will multiply itself. It accomplishes this by many of the individual pieces becoming the beginnings of new hydras.

Now, under normal conditions the hydra reproduces by budding off smaller, but fully formed hydras. But when suffering trauma (e.g. being torn to pieces), the process of multiplication can be accelerated. The individual pieces can become individual hydras.

Doesn’t the little hydra serve as a metaphor of the Church of Jesus Christ, especially the church under persecution? As the hydra never suffers the processes of decay and death, so the church – as long as it stays connected to the life-giving Lord Jesus, will never perish. Jesus said, “I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). And against impossible odds, it has survived for two millennia. And it has grown phenomenally, to over two billion believers.

And this growth is only accelerated under the heel of persecution. Just look at what happened in Acts, chapters 8-9. A great persecution erupted after the martyrdom of Stephen. The church at Jerusalem was literally smashed to pieces. Believers were scattered everywhere in every direction.

But what was the outcome? Those who were scattered preached the Gospel wherever they went. The clustered believers were spread like seed, growing thousands of new churches from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. And to add insult to injury, Christ captured the instigator of the persecution and made him a champion of the church. This pattern has been repeated a thousand-fold throughout history.

Yes, the church could have grown in times of peace. But it grew more rapidly under persecution. Yes, the church was shredded to pieces. But each little piece grew into a formidable congregation of its own, with other Christian assemblies budding off each one.

And, as long as each Christian assembly remains connected to Jesus Christ – as the branch must stay connected to the vine (John 15:1-5) – it will never perish. So, never lose hope for Christ’s church or God’s kingdom. Satan will work overtime to paint a picture of gloom and doom for the purpose of God. But pray, be faithful, and exercise your faith. Trust that – regardless of how badly things appear to be going – God is continually working behind the scenes. God is at work in the hearts of millions across America and around the world, to turn men, women, and children to salvation in Jesus Christ.

So, pray for revival. Pray for the spiritual leaders God raises up to edify the church and reach the lost. Pray for other believers, that we may be healed. Pray as Jesus commanded us, “May Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”


PRAYER:  Almighty and merciful Father, we approach Your throne of grace through the blood and merit of Your holy Son, Jesus Christ. We pray, O God, that You will revive Your church. Fill us, O God, with Your Holy Spirit. Feed us from Your word. Make us zealous for righteousness and burden our hearts for those who are perishing without Jesus Christ. Make us faithful witnesses for Jesus Christ and prepare us, O God, for His judgment seat.

Lord, please bless the United States of America. Breathe a mighty revival across our land and turn our hearts to You in faith and repentance and to each other in love and reconciliation. Raise up men and women of God to win the lost to Jesus Christ and to lead our nation on the path of righteousness. Please, dear Father, may Your kingdom come and may Your will be done – in America and on earth – as it is in heaven, in Jesus’ name, amen.


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