God's word in today's world

Suffering for your faith

We learn a lot about faith from Moses and the author of Hebrews mentions him a number of times.

Moses knew that if he stayed where he was, he would have a good life. To grow up in the pharaoh’s house had many advantages. He would live like a prince for the rest of his life and enjoy all the benefits of a prince’s life. He would never have to work. The best in the world would be handed to him on a platter.

But if Moses chose to obey God’s command for his life, things wouldn’t be as rosy. For Moses it’s a no-brainer: 26He valued suffering in the Messiah’s camp far greater than Egyptian wealth because he was looking ahead, anticipating the payoff.

For that we take our hats off to Moses. I’m ashamed to say I don’t know if I would have done it. Looking at my own circumstances, I wonder whether I’m already stuck in the pleasures of the world. Would I say farewell to this life, give up all its pleasures, and allow myself to be mistreated? Would I get up out of my easy chair to go and sit on a hard floor?

Wayne Cordeiro tells about the time he went to China to train 22 leaders. These leaders had travelled 17 hours to get there. The training room was very small with a hard wooden floor. And on that floor in that small room they sat, from 08:00 to 17:00, for three days straight.

When he asked them what would happen if they got caught, they said: “You will be deported immediately and we will go to prison for three years.” Then he asked if any of them had ever been in prison before. Eighteen put up their hands!

He handed out the 17 Bibles he had brought with him. Five had to go without. One woman gave her Bible to the person next to her. Wayne asked her why she had given it away. Her response: “Because I don’t need it. I’ve memorised almost all of the Bible.”

At the end of the training the leaders asked Wayne to pray for them, so that they could become like the churches in America where they can freely go to church and openly proclaim the Word.

Wayne said to them: “I would never do that. You take a 13-hour train journey to get here, but in my country, people don’t come to church if the church is more than an hour away. You sat on a wooden floor for three days. If the people in my country have to sit for more than 40 minutes, they get up and leave. If the chairs aren’t soft and there is no air-conditioning, they don’t come at all. In my country, a family as an average of two Bibles, but nobody reads the them. You memorise the Bible.”

Wayne ended by saying “I won’t pray that you become more like our church, but rather that we become more like you!”

Because Moses believed, he chose to suffer. How strong is your faith? Strong enough to take up your cross?

Hebrews 11:20-31

How nice is your life?
Are you stuck in your life?
How much would you sacrifice?

Jesus, I say I would do anything for you, but would I really? This story is so moving. I will have to think about this. Please give me the strength not to give up. Amen.

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