Pastor Mike was preaching from the fourth chapter of the book of Acts tonight. The sermon title was, “Smooth seas don’t make skillful sailors”… and he spent some time talking about persecution.
I have a somewhat romanticized idea about persecution and martyrdom because I’ve never seen it with my own eyes. You read about the suffering of the martyrs, and how nobly they went to their deaths, and you think to yourself, “ah – even their captors must have respected them”. This view is enhanced when you hear, years later, that one of their captors comes to Christ. Ah, how noble!
But is it really like that?
How many more people are calling them names, talking behind their backs, treating them with contempt? How often do they drag home at the end of the day, bearing the weight of misunderstanding and squashed hopes? Hindsight is 20-20… in hindsight we see the kind word that changed the stranger’s day and thus their life. Living in that moment, it’s the futility of explaining the love of God to people who don’t want Him, of being ridiculed, of being belittled. How do they bear up? How do we?
How do we, indeed, manage to live this Christian life?
Of course the first source is our Lord Himself. But the next source is our fellow Christian, in whom the Spirit of God also dwells.
What a privilege we have, to be part of this body of Christ! To reach out to our siblings and ask for prayer, to speak words of encouragement, to be healed, to worship together in Spirit and in Truth. We each carry God in our hearts, and I am lately being drawn to the beauty of our family.
Each one of my siblings in Christ has something to teach me – because they all bear Christ in their hearts. Each one of my siblings in Christ has something to bless me with. Each one of my siblings in Christ is someone to love. We are given this family so that we can support one another through the rough times, and through the smooth. We should be praying together and bouying one another up.
I am delighted when I bop over into one of my siblings blogs and am blessed with insight. I am honored when I am asked to pray. I wish I could express to you, my beloved siblings, how much joy and love and appreciation I have for you all – how your existence brightens my life.
We are given this family as a GIFT, as a blessing – and this drawing together as a family is what will get us through the dark times, when they come.
Yes, this is where I start hugging everyone and telling you how much I love you. Y’all just have to work with it. Crazy Californian Jesus Freaks. ;) I only wish I could share the emotion itself. So beautiful. I am so very *grateful* for this blessing.