“Our homes are often ransacked, and our Bibles are confiscated; then they have Bible burnings, building huge bonfires in the community. Sometimes they also light fires outside our churches to scare and intimidate us.” The young lady spoke in a matter-of-fact tone of voice.
I was in a country in Asia training people to evangelize, make disciples, and form new churches - any of which could mean severe retaliation and serious persecution if they are caught. I looked at the young woman with respect, admiration, and compassion; but as a valiant soldier of the cross, she wasn’t looking for any of those responses from me.
She knows the risks of practicing her faith and obeying God’s command to be His witness. I thought to myself, “She is very young. She has her whole life before her. She could be living for herself and desiring a peaceful future without danger, but instead, she has come to be trained.”
She and dozens more came to be trained. They had made the decision to follow Jesus, regardless of the possible cost to their lives. They are not choosing to live safely or to walk an easy path. They are choosing to live obediently.
It was humbling to meet these brave ones. I felt a heavy weight of responsibility as I equipped them to undertake ministry that could cost them their lives. However, I know that the Gospel has always been spread through the shedding of blood. For generations, we have had it easy in the United States. I wonder how many of us would follow suit. II Timothy 3:12 also states, “Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
As we see our religious rights disappearing, perhaps it’s time to ask ourselves this question.