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Sharing eternity

February 10, 2009

Sometimes I wonder if I qualify as a Christian.

Every month a Voice of the Martyrs newsletter shows up in our mailbox – a dozen or more pages of pictures and stories about Christians overseas. This month they’re in Pakistan, and photo after photo, headline after headline, tell the stories of a young woman kidnapped and abused for her faith before escaping months later, a man captured and beaten through the night while he preached to his persecutors, a woman jailed on false blasphemy charges, and a 17 year-old boy who carries New Testaments from one village to the next.

Yesterday, @VOMC popped up in my TwitterFox window with a link to news on a 79-year-old woman who had been jailed, beaten, abused and humiliated for two years because she would not deny her faith in Christ. Having just been released, she went immediately to the hospital to sit by the bedside of her dying husband. I read her story, studied the picture, and thought, “I’m going to share eternity with these people?”

The thought is almost embarrassing.

These people suffer things that don’t come up in my worst nightmares, and they are faithful through it. The horrors that women my age suffer, day in and day out, in places like Pakistan are unspeakable. And when they are told that it will all go away if they’ll just convert to Islam – just deny their faith in Jesus – they choose beatings, rape and suffering instead.

How is it that my name is written in the same book as theirs?

I don’t doubt that their rewards in the age to come will be so much greater than mine, and I look forward to seeing them avenged and blessed for what they endured. Still, I had to pause yesterday and wonder what my story will be.

I’m going to meet these people. If you are in Christ, you are going to meet these people. They’ll tell you their stories and ask about yours. What will I say?

I, of course, had nothing to do with being born into the safety and prosperity of the West, but what did I do with it? When I meet these people on the other side of the book of Revelation will I be able to say that I suffered with them? Will I be able to say that I took advantage of my wealth and my freedoms to send money and supplies and encouragement to believers like them? That I chose to live meekly and give everything? What could I say about my work in the U.S. that would inspire that 79-year-old woman, and am I doing it?

Are you?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jacob Zarris permalink
    February 10, 2009 9:35 am

    Lex this is amazing, its powerful and demands us to look at our lives. So thanks

  2. Lex permalink
    February 11, 2009 12:27 pm

    Thanks to you, Jacob! It takes a certain degree of boldness to “look at our lives,” so this is all you, man.

  3. seekingrecklessabandon permalink
    February 11, 2009 11:22 pm

    thank you for this post

  4. Lex permalink
    February 12, 2009 8:14 am

    I figured misery loves company … ;)

    That’s my friend Jody, by the way, everybody. She’s being – um – advertised to eligible, Jesus-loving males here.

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