Monday, June 9, 2014

Bible Study: Even in the face of torture

Romans 15:9
Psalm 18:46-49
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Will you praise God in all situations, in all circumstances? Even when you want Him to change your situation and He says no?
In my dream I was faced with the scenario of fleeing persecution or staying put knowing that I would be tortured and killed for my beliefs. Like a European Jew in the early '40s, the enemy was coming and would try to kill me after making me suffer as much as possible beforehand. I might have the possibility of escaping if I left immediately and certain persecution if I stayed. Many others were in fact leaving, but the Lord told me to stay. He didn't tell everyone the same: I had to assume that those who left the country were also obeying the Lord, so the faith would continue even if all who stayed were killed. But I was told to stay, not to flee, and to stand firm in my witness while waiting for the torture to come and enduring it when the time was right. This was only a dream for me, at least so far, yet it has been reality for many others throughout the generations. Most never had the opportunity to flee yet they still remained faithful to the Lord as they were tortured and killed.
Key to glorifying the Lord in such a situation is understanding why. His abundant mercy brings us so many blessings that a shortened life of persecution with Him is far better than a longer, easier life without Him. What is it to lose a few years of life (or endure any other difficulty) when the Lord provides so much for us in this life, preserves us from the atrocities of our own sins, and promises us eternal (persecution-free!) life with Himself?

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