I have personally been thinking a lot about Gao and his family, since I've been spreading the word about his torture and imprisonment. Today is day 76 of being held hostage by the Chinese government, simply for being a devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
This case has made me think long and hard about my own commitment to Jesus and also what I look at as "suffering" these days. In fact, just yesterday it was 105 degrees here in Southern California where I live, and I was on my way to work in the evening, and it was still 105 degrees, and I was thinking about how much I hated the heat and complaining a little bit inside of heart, about the heat. Yet, at the same time I was driving in a nice vehicle with air conditioning blowing cool air on me.
Not only did that reveal to me how trite I can be when it comes to complaining about SLIGHT discomfort, but it really convicted me as I thought about persecuted saints all over the place.
Last year I remember my church cutting a Sunday service short because it was "too hot" and we did not have air conditioning in the building. Yet, all over the world, Christians like Gao are being seriously tortured and abused and yet THEY worship despite their discomfort.
Then if you think about Gao's family and the suffering his wife and children are enduring, again, how trite is it that someone like me, complains about it being too hot, even when I have access to fans or an air conditioner.
I have come to the conviction that as a Western Christian, I'm a wimp. I'm being honest, and I also think that I'm not the only one. And as a result I have been driven to repent because I know that the Lord has blessed me more than I ever will Him, and I know that what suffering any of us endure is nothing compared to what Jesus went through for my sins.
Gao is a wonderful example to me, and he is one of my heroes. It would be one of the joys of my life if I could meet him personally, because this man HAS truly suffered and been TORTURED for Christ.
So, if you haven't signed the petition yet, please do it now - http://www.freegao.com