A researcher was speaking to a number of pastors in an area of the world where true believers in Jesus suffer persecution on a regular basis. He was hearing amazing stories of God moving in supernatural ways as well as horrific stories of Christian leaders being jailed, tortured, and even killed for their faith.
Here is what he wrote…
At the end of a number of days of sharing I remarked: “There is one thing I don’t understand. You have told me so many remarkable stories about what God has done. You have told me about unspeakable suffering. You have told me about previous persecution. And you have told me about God’s power at work. Why haven’t you written these stories down? Why haven’t you published these stories? Why haven’t your stories been recorded in some way?
The pastors seemed genuinely confused by my questions.
Finally, an older pastor took me aside. He gently took my arm and he led me to the large picture window in the home — a picture window that was facing the east.
The old pastor began by making reference to my family: “You have told us that you have some sons.”
“Yes, that’s true.”
“Tell me,” the pastor patiently asked, “how many times have you awakened your sons before dawn and taken them to the east-facing part of your home? How many time have you said to them, ‘Boys, get ready! Look out this window, because the sun is about to come up in the east! Boys, I woke you up early today because I wanted you to see it! It’s about ready to happen!’ Tell me, how many times have you awakened your boys and said that to them?”
“Well, sir,” I answered, “I have never done that. In fact, my sons would think I was crazy if I did that.”
The old pastor nodded as if a profound point had been made. However, I could see no connection to our earlier conversation. I was completely baffled.
Seeing my confusion, he went on to explain. “You would never do that with your sons because the sun coming up in the east is normal and ordinary. It is an everyday event. It is expected. Well, that’s the way persecution is for us. That’s the way God’s activity is for us. We don’t write much about these things — we don’t even talk much about these thing — because these things are as normal as the sun coming up on the east.”
The researcher went on the write…
It was a startling thought for me. From my perspective, persecution was something exceptional, unusual, out of the ordinary. From my perspective persecution was a problem, and it was something to be avoided. From the perspective of my pastor friend in (name of country), however, persecution was not exceptional at all. It was usual. It was ordinary. Persecution was simply to be expected for followers of Jesus. And God’s ability to intervene and use persecution for His purposes was expected as well.
Personal note: This brief message has caused me to do some deep thinking about my life and ministry and the often lack of any visible persecution because of my witness for Jesus.
End note: According to several mission ministries … 80 percent of the world’s believers who are practicing their faith live in persecution. Believers being those who are born again and have a genuine relationship with the Lord Jesus.
And yet, in my life….