But, the Lord is teaching me that this is not suffering, these are merely inconveniences.
Yesterday my husband and I met a refugee from Pakistan. This man told us of true suffering which takes place daily in his home country. He shared with us how the Muslims extremist had killed his mother in law, tried to kill his wife, and eventually forced them to flee from their home and country. All because of his faith in Christ.
He shared with us about how Christians are doused with kerosene or petrol and caught on fire. How homes are burned with the people inside.
Yet, the amazing thing is how Christianity is flourishing in this country. This man had been the pastor of almost 1000 people. At a recent vacation Bible school, there had been close to 800 kids.
If this man and his family were to return to their country, they would most likely be killed upon arrival, because their names are listed among the wanted Christian leaders.
Coming from America, this is hard to comprehend. Even living in Nepal, where persecution is mild, this is hard to believe. Yet, for our brother in Pakistan, this is the way of life.
And despite the persecution, despite the consequences, these Muslims are accepting Christ, because they realize Jesus is the One true God, and that salvation is found in no one else.
They risk it all to convert. Risk their families and their very lives. Yet, they continue to become Christians, they continue to go and tell others, and they continue to make disciples wherever they go.
We complain over the smallest things, things which are no more than inconveniences. Yet, around the world, even in the neighboring countries, believers are truly suffering for their faith in Christ.
I have heard some who believe that if your suffering then there is sin in your life. Yet, Jesus tells us that we will be persecuted. We will suffer. These brothers and sisters in Christ suffer to make Christ known.
Even as I sit here, (though our family is living in Nepal), I sit in my nice home in a gated compound. Even though there are daily inconveniences, we are more than blessed.
Yet, this man and his family have been forced to flee their home, their homeland. They have declared themselves refugees, and are dependent upon the Lord to take care of them, to meet their needs. This man who has three earned Masters degrees, a DMin. and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. has had to leave it all because of his faith and his proclamation of Christ.
And I am humbled.
Humbled that I complain over my little inconveniences, when there are others who greatly rejoice in their privilege to suffer for Christ.
And I wonder, am I this willing to suffer for Christ? Do I fear man more than the Lord? Jesus said, do not fear man who can kill the body, but fear God. (Mathew 10:28)
If placed in a similar position, would I rejoice in this suffering, would you?
As we prepare to celebrate Easter this coming weekend. As we celebrate the fact that Jesus came, lived, died, and was resurrected from the grave. As we celebrate the freedom we have in Christ. May we not take this “grace” for granted. May we not treat it cheaply.
The grace of God that allowed us to believe upon Christ, while others have yet to hear of Jesus and yet believe.
We are blessed people. For Jesus also said, Blessed are those whose eyes see and whose ears understand.(Mathew 13:16)
And let us remember we have heard, we have understood, our eyes have been opened not so we can keep this treasure hidden, but so that we can declare this to a lost and dying world. Making disciples, preparing ourselves daily for the Lord’s coming.
He is coming again, may we never lose sight of this!