Have you ever read a story about someone and been asked or have asked yourself “What would I do if I was in that situation?” Working at VOM and reading the stories of the intense persecution our brothers and sisters around the world face causes that to be a question I often ask myself.
Sometimes I am alarmed as I ponder this question, because I don’t know the answer to it. I try to picture myself under the same pressure and threats and pain and I don’t know that I would respond with the same strength that I am amazed to hear our brothers and sisters respond with. Their faith in Christ seems unshaken.
I have recently been reading Captive in Iran, the true story of Maryam and Marziayeh who were arrested for their faith and put into Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison for 259 days. Something that Maryam wrote stood out to me right away:
“Fighting my rising panic, I knew we were weak and not brave. Would we deny Christ to save ourselves? If we failed as Peter had failed, how could we ever forgive ourselves? I prayed for the Lord to keep us strong. We could be brave and resist only in His strength, not our own. Without Christ, we were nothing. With Him, we were covered in His strength and protection. “
If I’m honest, I already know how I would respond if persecuted for my faith. The beauty in this though, our response is not dependent on us and our strength. Note what Maryam said: “We could be brave and resist only in His strength, not our own. Without Christ, we were nothing. With Him, we were covered in His strength and protection.”
I Corinthians says 12:9-10 says, “...My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” And Matthew 13:11 says “But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” (NKJV)
So you might always wonder how you would respond in the face of persecution on your own. That same strength that we see in the persecuted church that inspires us is the same strength that God will give you when you are walking in the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We are one body; in the end God’s response through you is the only one that will matter.
"Grace Taylor" is a worker with VOM. She was first introduced to VOM by her parents and grandparents, who received VOM’s newsletter, and through the VOM book Jesus Freaks. She has served in 12 different countries and is passionate about helping expand God’s Kingdom throughout the nations of the world.