Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Happy Are Ye Crowd

1 Peter 3:14 “But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye:
and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;”

In the States, my picture of suffering was very different than it is now. To me, suffering was:
  • The rejected tract at Walmart
  • The criticism of Christians by the Atheists downtown
  • The Facebook comment that bashes biblical Christianity
  • The anti-creationist blog post
  • The city law requiring a permit for street preaching
  • The restaurant manager who says tracts may not be distributed there
  • The student told he couldn’t bring his Bible to class
Those things are difficult and most certainly are a form of persecution.
Matthew 5:11-12  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 
But I must admit, my views of suffering have transformed since coming here.
It now looks more like this:
  • The daughter kicked out of the home and family for becoming a Christian
  • The wife rebuked for going to church
  • The Bible college student beaten for wanting to plant a church
  • The husband/son-in-law rejected for refusing to worship a statue
  • The church bombed
  • The man chased out of the village with machetes for being a Christian
  • The political group fighting to force the nation to return to being Hindu-only
  • The anti-Christian rallies
  • Taxis driving around with loud speakers threatening Christians
And in recent months as have watched the news, my view of suffering has changed again. It looks more like:
  • The mother raped and killed because she will not reject the Saviour
  • The child beheaded because he owns a Bible
  • The father shot execution style because he will not convert to Islam
  • Heads mounted on stakes to drive fear into the heart of Christians
  • People fleeing to the mountains, with no food or water
But there is another face of suffering that we as Christians should never forget…
Acts 16:23-25 “And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”
The news will never show it. It doesn’t fit their agenda. It doesn’t gain an audience. The “happy are ye” crowd.
“… if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye…” 
I have seen the "happy are ye" crowd. They walk into church with a smile on their faces. They preach with bruises. They attend Bible college without family support. They pray for their persecutors. And they sing.
In the States, I wasn’t in the “happy are ye” crowd. I was the victim. I couldn’t believe that I could be suffering such persecution or rejection. I had my rights. And I should be treated fairly! But the more my view of suffering changes, the more my response to it changes, too. I am no victim. I am blessed.
I wonder how many of our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ are singing, though through tears at times. I wonder how many times the news media cameras edited out the Christian who praised Jesus with their last breath. I wonder how many people have knelt down to pray and tell Jesus He is worthy of it all. I wonder…
Sing on, my brothers and sisters. Your suffering is not in vain. And joy comes in the morning. Happy are ye…
     Pray for our persecuted brethren.
           Pray for our fellow missionaries who are reaching in to these areas.
               And search your heart.
                     Are you really suffering?
                          If not, is it because you are not doing anything to exalt the name of Christ?
If you are not facing persecution, it may be a symptom of a much greater problem in your life
2 Timothy 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”


Jen Bauer said...

Excellent post. Thank you.

Tori Leslie said...

Amen, that's such a great post and reminder to pray. Thanks!