By Lori Beard
Every time I turn the news on or pick up a paper or get on facebook (cause we all know everything posted on facebook is true for sure) I see accounts of Christians around the world who are being mocked, jeered at, tortured, beaten and killed for their faith. My heart is heavy for them and their families. I do not and cannot imagine their great sorrow or sacrifice.
Goodness, I live in a country where sacrifice is no air conditioner in the lobby of my church. What do I know of that type of sorrow? Nothing.
But I see the sheer panic and confusion among Christians it has caused. Some are responding with prayer and rightly so. Some are responding with massive facebook posts that may or may not be true. I can only hope that they are spending the same amount of time praying as they are posting. Others are angry. They feel like the rights of Christians are being violated. They do not understand how this could happen. It is almost as if they have never read the book of Hebrews, or any other part of the Bible which so faithfully shows us this reality for true believers again and again.
Well, I re-read Hebrews. Goodness, is it a beautiful picture of these faithful, amazing men and women and of the power and sovereignty of God their King. Read it and rejoice on behalf of our precious, faithful brothers and sisters who have already gained Jesus and those who are still faithfully standing for him on heavy ground. Hebrews 11:32-40:
“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthat, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouth of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and floggings, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned, they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated, the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. “
God has a plan. He is in control. No man decides what happens to His people. Stay on your knees. Cry out to God! Pray…pray..pray. Be one of the faithful.
While we watch these precious saints stand, should we not be checking our walk? Would we be found in this same hall of faith? Would we be able to stand arm in arm with these brothers and sisters who believe God is worth it all? How faithful would you be found dear Christian?
Dear God search my heart. Cause me to love You more than my comfort or my needs, desires or wants. Thank You for the example of faithful endurance these dear saints have been to us. Amen.