Monday, February 27, 2012

Are You a Coward?

I’ve often wondered that about myself.

I’ve faced persecution. I’ve faced betrayal. I’ve faced slander. I’ve faced physical threats. I’ve faced financial hard times. I’ve faced loss of home. I’ve faced loss of income. I have faced physical injury and sickness and even surgery. I have faced the likelihood of death. I have sometimes stood in defense of others at possible peril to myself in various ways including all of the above.

Yet I have never faced the kinds of horrible persecution and imprisonment and torture that Christians in some other times and lands have faced, some even in the USA. I’ve seen movies. I’ve read historical accounts. I’ve read the Biblical accounts. And I’ve read and viewed recent accounts.

Frankly, these things make me afraid. I have often wondered whether I would be strong in such times.

I have concluded that I most certainly would not. I have concluded that I would shrink back in fear and cowardly shame, like Peter did in the courtyard as he was challenged concerning his association with Jesus. I am convinced that I, too, would deny my Lord, even with cursing. I am convinced that I, too, would take up the sword to defend myself.

However, I also know that my strength for such times will not come from within me. My strength shall not come from looking to help from the government or from a church body or from a congregation or from family or from friends.

My strength shall come from the one who is far above all of these things, who sits at the right hand of God. My strength shall come from His Holy Spirit, poured out from heaven to me in my baptism. My strength shall come from years of affirmation from hearing His Gospel and from partaking of His blessed Supper. My strength shall be the pure and unadulterated Word of God, who made Himself to be flesh for me and gave Himself for me even unto torture and execution. He boldly, courageously, lovingly, and even joyously bore all these things on my behalf and has promised to carry me through whatever trials that I shall face in my own walk through life.

And so, though I know that I would surely be a coward, I shall nevertheless stand unmoved and without fear, because I stand upon the sure foundation of His promises and have my life in Him.

Still, though, I consider myself and I fall to my knees trembling, needing to hear again and again His gracious promises. And so I pray and I eagerly look for the next offering of His Sacrament. There my life and hope and confidence are restored and again I am strong to go forth in His name.

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1 comment:

Canadian Atheist said...

Compared to witches, homosexuals and atheists, I think the persecution of Christians at any time was small. These things occur even now and always at the hands of the religious.