Day 25: Self Feeding in the Midst of Persecution and Suffering. I finally took the time to complete this challenge and read through the verses on persecution this evening right before bed while snuggled up to our youngest foster kiddo. I have to say that it sort of hit me over the head when I did. Particularly, these verses spoke into my heart tonight:
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Ephesians 6: 18-20
Our sermon series at church this month has been about persecution. As that series pointed out, there are different levels of persecution. American Christians do experience some levels of persecution, but there are many places in the world that experience all levels. How often do I pray for the persecuted church? Are my brothers and sisters who are losing their jobs, being kicked out of their homes, and possibly even killed for the cause of Christ on my mind “in all occasions”? Isn’t it so easy to get distracted and, as Chris pointed out in the video, play into the devil’s game plan by being silent? I know that I need to be much more intentional about praying for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are experiencing persecution.
I was also incredibly challenged by Chris’ thoughts in the video about training disciples to think about persecution and to be aware that it will come. I have to admit that if I have a student at church come talk to me about wanting to be baptized, persecution isn’t usually something on the top of my list to make sure that they understand. I had simply never really thought about it in that context. His story about how he used to make missionaries going to hostile locations write a last letter really challenged me. I had to think, what would I write in that letter? Would I be as willing to go if I knew that death was a possibility to the point that I was writing my last words? Last Sunday, one of the missionaries supported by our church spoke during the sermon. He said that one of the questions he’s asked most often is “Are you safe there?” and his response was “Is the goal of what we do to be safe?” I thought those words perfectly explained how we should, as Christians, believe that the gospel is worth it enough to no longer worry about what is safe and make our first priority expanding the Kingdom.