It’s a poignant scene for me. There are many stories of people who chose death of imprisonment rather than deny their faith. We all have heard the story of the girl in the Colombine Massacre as one such martyr in our own country. http://www.motivationtruth.com/2009/04/columbines-rachel-scott-said-yes-will.html
Every time I hear of these stories I have to wonder about myself. Do I have the faith and strength that will be willing to say, “I am a Christian!”? I have to admit I don’t within myself as I look at myself calmly sitting in my chair and typing a blog.
There have been several prayers that I have struggled to pray in my Christian walk. One of those prayers is Psalms 139:23-24
and another is Isaiah 6:8
In both cases, the Lord has brought me around in my faith to earnestly be able to pray both of these prayers. But in Romans 5:1-5, Paul tells us we should desire persecution because it strengthens our faith, and in Philippians 3:7-11 he tells his readers that he desires suffering so that he can grow closer to Jesus.
My greatest desire is to know Jesus better and to know what it is to feel his presence with me in every circumstance and to finally come to the end of my life hearing him tell me, “Well done,” but to desire suffering and persecution as a means to attain that closeness to him scares me to death, and I cannot bring myself to say like Paul, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”
In my time with the Lord, I prayed about this with him, and then later, as I walked with my friend, Melissa Green, I shared with her what I was thinking. I told her that I feel that the United States is much like Germany was before Hitler came to power, and because of that I feel certain that we are headed down the same path. I believe that we Christians here in the United States are going to go through a time of intense persecution like many Christians around the world are going through. When that time comes will I be able to stand before a man with a gun and say, “I pledge allegiance to the Lamb of God” or will I cower and say “I pledge allegiance to the government”?
As Melissa and I walked, we both agreed that the Lord knows our hearts. We agreed that those who are seeking the Lord with all our hearts while the woods are green, are not likely to deny him when the drought comes and we are put to the test. I was comforted by our talk.
So the question we can answer, I guess, becomes are we seeking the Lord while the woods are green? If not, how are we to stand when the drought comes and we are put to the test?