July 31, 2006
This is by far one of the most encouraging devotions from the awesome book Extreme Devotion, which we frequently highlight on this blog. My favorite line in this devotion is "They wanted to encourage Christians in the West." Isn't that awesome! Take a minute and read this, and then pass it on to a friend. And please leave me your thoughts, I want to know how this encourages you today.
Believers in the Hmong tribe of Southeast Asia agreed to give their testimony on videotape. They wanted to encourage Christians in the West.
One Hmong Christian shared: “The Communist authorities feel threatened because so many Hmong people have become Christians. They beat the Christians to try to force them to return to their worship of evil spirits.”
“The local police forbade us to become Christians. They threatened to put us in jail and even kill us,” a woman added. “But if we have to die for Christ’s sake, we are willing.”
These believers are willing to put themselves in even greater danger to let the world know they are standing strong in the face of persecution. The Hmong tribe is the largest of Southeast Asia and is experiencing the greatest growth of Christianity. It is also one of the most persecuted people groups.
Another woman said, “I thank God that we have remained strong. I do believe that the persecution is just a test of our faith in Christ. It brings out the true riches. It brings out the silver and the gold. Just pray that we will be faithful to the end.”
Steel is strengthened through a tempering process—heated to extreme temperatures, pounded into form, and cooled. Then the process is repeated again and again, heating and pounding the impurities away and then cooling so that the metal can bond. A similar tempering process strengthens our faith. When we are heated by hatred from others, pounded upon by persecution, and then cooled by the gentle reassurance of God’s presence, our impurities are driven out and our faith strengthened. Have you recognized the tempering process in your life? Don’t resist any part of it. Learn from your brothers and sisters in the Hmong tribe. Your enemies don’t realize you will be stronger as a result of their hatred.