Romans 5:3-5, "but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
One of the most insidious aspects of targeting is designed to eliminate the possibility of hope in our lives. In this way, as in many other ways, it is similar to the Soviet state in Russia and Eastern Europe during the Cold War. According to Oliver Bullough, author of The Last Man in Russia, "the Soviet state was, in fact, almost perfectly designed to make people unhappy. It denied its citizens not just hope, but also trust." Many of us can attest to some of these conditions as having been manifested in our own lives during the course of targeting. So, what are we to do? Are we to accept this as our fate? Not at all. What we are to do is to keep God's promises to us and the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, in the forefront of our hearts, minds, bodies and souls. The Christians of the Soviet state had their churches and religious leaders taken from them but many kept the Holy Trinity within their beings and clung to their faith in God. Like them, many of us are targeted in churches. We can continue to keep our faith in God alive and even grow closer to Him through daily prayer; practicing His commandments; studying His word and participating in worship services, Bible studies, and prayer time in our domiciles either alone or with others who live with similar circumstances. We can also worship and augment our faith in God by participating via television, the internet or the phone. The hope and dreams we've had for ourselves have been dashed by targeting in many instances. We've had hope for successful careers, marriages, friendships, good health among other comfortable earthly pursuits that seem to have faded. But God promises to overcome all of the obstacles the enemy has placed in our paths, though maybe not in the ways that we imagined. In Jeremiah 29:11, we are reminded that God has better plans for our lives than all the harm we are experiencing, thus giving us reason to cling strongly to hope in Him who made us and saved us from our sins through His Son, Jesus. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus tells us to seek God's kingdom first and we shall receive our earthly desires. Let us recall God's goodness, grace, mercy and gifts to us on a daily basis as we meditate on Lamentations 3:22-23, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness." As painful as these targeted experiences have been and still are, let us consider how God has revealed Himself in our lives. Many of us have new friendships, new skills, and have acquired new perspectives on our lives. God has done this and more for us.