I have written about North American Christianity and how much we love the comfort and hate risk and suffering. Yet a quick review of the past two thousand years of Christian history shows living as a Jesus follower in a world of darkness is anything but comfortable and risk-free.
A Canadian Bible smuggler to Cuba handed a leading pastor a bag of Spanish Bibles and said, “We are placing you at risk?”
The Cuban pastor responded, “Risk, what risk? I enter risk when I accepted Jesus and became a pastor. If they want to shoot me, so be it. I will enter eternity sooner!” Is that what you would have said? Do you and I feel that strongly about our beliefs? I hope so.
A Chinese Christian brother from the north-west province of Xinjiang was released after serving twenty years in prison. He shared this poem written by his wife just before her death in prison:
As a real disciple, I have dedicated my life hoeing the fields energetically,
Begging for food shamelessly,
Wearing worn-out clothes as if they were formal dresses
Freezing to death at the windy station yet uttering not a word of complaint.
Only if the gospel would be widely spread
Am I willing to be hung upside down on the cross with no regret.
The army drafted a young man attending a secret seminary in Cuba into military service in a work camp. He would meet at night in the cane fields with seven other people and read the Bible, pray and encourage one another. His response to this hardship was simple, “I became a pastor here in the cane fields, not in seminary!”
Let us in North America humble ourselves and pray for the faith we made need to pay a high price for our calling. Life in America for Jesus followers will not always be comfortable and convenient. It will get risky!
Kim Wenzel is a local Open Doors USA ministry representative who speaks in churches and groups about praying for the persecuted church. For more information, persons interested may contact Wenzel at email@example.com or 918-919-1490. He pastors Faith Church of Grove on East Highway 10.