The other day I met with a new friend who started to share a little of his life as a brother.
He was born and raised in a restricted access nation as a Muslim. When he was a young man, he decided to give his life to follow Jesus.
Over the next 20 years, he was thrown in jail, harassed, and persecuted because of his faith. At the end of it all, he was still standing firm as a follower of Jesus. PERSECUTION is a reality for many of us working in closed countries as BAM people.
Persecution – Are you really willing & ready?
We all say that we have counted the cost of serving Jesus, but have we really? I know that in the past I have made the comment, “If it means I need to go through persecution in order to share with others about Jesus…bring it on.” But did I really know what it means to be persecuted for Jesus? Was I really ready to stand up and count the cost for being a Christian?
Around 8 years ago, I had a friend who went through a scary time of persecution. As we debriefed the situation, he recalled being beaten by a fundamentalist in his neighborhood. He told me how scared he was and how he wanted to flee from their neighborhood. His wife encouraged him to stand firm and not leave in order to communicate the peace of Jesus and lack of fear.
He recounted how over the next few weeks many from their neighborhood began to open their homes to his family. They were able to share of the forgiveness of Jesus through it all.
Was it fun? He would say, “No way!” Was it worth it, “By all means!”
Persecution – Small & Large
Over the years of serving in closed countries, I have seen that persecution comes in many shapes and sizes. Some times we are verbally mocked by others for our beliefs while other times there may be physical persecution.
Either way, it is not easy when persecution comes, however, Jesus promises to be with us during these hard times.
Stand or Flee
When I have looked at Paul’s life for how he responded to persecution, I notice that he does not have one set response. In some cases Paul gets beat and then seems to head right back into the opposition to get more; other times Paul flees for his life.
I guess the point is: We need to be listening and lead by the Holy Spirit so that we can make the right response in our times of persecution.
In the recent past, it seems like the norm has been to flee! I wonder what impact it might have on our local Christian friends if we stand in the face of fierce persecution?