I prayed God would send me someone who’d been in a persecuted country. Today I met him. He loves his wife and family. He doesn’t complain. He talks of bombs as if they were common vernacular. He prays for people.
He is like you.
He is like me.
But he lives in a country that carries risk in being a Christian.
“God bless you,” he told me.
I didn’t expect such words of blessings. Our countries aren’t exactly best friends. But he shines Jesus nonetheless, and heaps blessings upon me.
Can I be any more humbled to stand in the presence of saints who love Jesus when it hurts to do so? What a privilege it is to know new friends, who face death. One man I talked to shared about the risk of attending the funeral of a Christian who was shot. “You never know if you attend a funeral what will happen. It’s a good place to attack because so many Christians are in one place,” he said.
And yet, even so, Jesus is advancing. People in the majority world are meeting Him in large numbers while the western church stagnates. It’s not that I’m sad to be an American, or that I’m ashamed of my heritage. I’m thankful to be from the USA. But I’m humbled by those who lay their hearts and lives on the line for the sake of the gospel.
A new friend I’ve met said this: “The power of God is visible on the cutting edge of the gospel.” Meaning, when the true gospel is preached (the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ), God’s power comes.
Another friend shared miracles God has done in his meetings. He shyly looked down. “But it’s God who gets the glory,” he said.
So whether you’re in a country that hates Jesus, loves Him, is indifferent to Him, know this: the gospel is powerful. It can cause people to risk their lives for its sake. It can usher in supernatural miracles. It can transform you. It has transformed me.
I love Jesus for it.