Last week, I mentioned a book I was reading called Killing Christians by Tom Doyle. I cannot even begin to describe some of the painful, UNcomforable things the believers shared about their lives. I have been challenged to pray for these brothers and sisters who have no option but sacrifice when they decide to follow Jesus. I think what astounded me most was that in literally every single story anyone who was still alive at the time of the publication of the book said something to the effect of: “I’m still alive, but I know that my death will come soon.” Even more incredible is that every sentence like that is almost inevitably followed up with, “But don’t worry about me.”
Being a Christian isn’t just a label for these people. It’s not one of many options of how they might spend their time on a Sunday morning. It’s literally life and death, every single day. It’s fathers and uncles hunting them down to kill them for “dishonoring their family” by following Jesus. It’s hiding in coffins to smuggle Bibles into their country. It’s anything but a comfortable life.
When I say that I’m giving up comfort today, let me be clear, I am not asking to have to experience the things these people went through. I actually pray I never experience them as I pray that the suffering would be ended for them and those around them. However, I’ve realized that I can’t just keep turning my eye to the reality of things like this. To be honest, it would have been much easier to never pick up this book, or to put it back down a few pages in. Ignorance is bliss, right?
God may someday call me to make some life or death decisions in regards to following Him or to suffer because I bear His name. If that day comes, I pray for strength and courage to point boldly to Him. Like Paul wrote:
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. (Philippians 12-14)
But whether or not a day like that ever comes, today, I can give up the comfort of ignorance and avoidance. I can stop being an apathetic Christian. I can “sacrifice” time to pray for my brothers and sisters who are suffering things greater than I can imagine. I can “sacrifice” some of the things that bring me comfort in this life and invest that money or other resources into things that last eternally. It’s a scary, scary, prayer to pray, but today I ask that God would help me give up comfort that I may live passionately for Him.