Right now I'm reading The Heavenly Man, a nonfiction book recommended to me prior to my trip to China. It tells the story of Brother Yun, a Chinese pastor who has faced heavy persecution for his faith and ministry.
I've lost track of how many times he's been arrested, and I'm only in chapter ten (of twenty-nine). Every time he faces brutal torture, undying faith, and miraculous escapes.
In reading this testimony, I can't help but wonder what the church in the United States would look like if we had that kind of faith. The faith where we'd be willing to face electric shock, starvation, and frigid temperatures all because we believe in God. would we be found faithful or would we relent? It's convicting.
But it also makes me thankful for what we, as Americans, have. The persecution we may face is verbal slander and judgment not physical abuse and death. We live in a country where we don't have to be afraid of our churches being attacked by the government and our members arrested for simply being on the premises. We can play our Christian music in our cars, at festivals, and even in retail stores. We can proclaim we believe with our t-shirts, bumper stickers, and blog posts.
For this I am grateful. But I know the price for this freedom was very high. Men and women have lost lives and limbs fighting for our independence. For my right to write this blog post. For your opportunity to read it.
Please take the time to thank a soldier. Not just on Independence Day, Veterans' Day, and Memorial Day, but any day and every day that you are grateful for your comfortable life free from persecution.
Now, let's go out and proclaim God with more than just our music, bumper stickers, t-shirts, and blog posts. God can and does use Americans just as He uses Brother Yun and Chinese Christians.
Have you thanked Christ for the price He paid for that freedom, too?