“Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.” LUKE 10:3 A few years ago, I traveled to the Pakistani town of Sangla Hill shortly after the Christian community there was attacked by a Muslim mob. After spending a day with my hurting brothers and sisters, I wrote:
A full moon rises over the cane fields around Sangla Hill, and in the twilight a minaret looks like a stake driven through the heart of this city. Three hundred Christian families live here, and not one of them feels safe tonight. My mind is swirling with all I’ve seen today – charred crosses, churches and homes gutted by fire, the cries of children, and the pleas of their parents for someone to protect them. The only comfort any of us have found today has been from the Scripture. Standing outside the charred remains of the Salvation Army Church, a believer named Gulzar came up to me to talk. His broken English was mended by a winning smile and joyful countenance. Gulzar told me that two promises helped him face the fear – and then he began to quote from John 14, “Let not your heart be troubled…In my Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” And then my dear brother lifted my spirits and gave meaning to all I have witnessed today. “Be faithful unto death,” Gulzar said, quoting our Lord, “and I will give thee a crown of life.”
The next day I looked into the face of persecution again. A pastor named Masih was lying outside the hospital on a concrete walkway. The pastor had protested to the police in his village after drunken Muslims had assaulted some women in his church. For that, a Muslim gang attacked him, kicking in his skull, severing his ear, and leaving him blind in one eye. The hospital had bandaged over his wounds and thrown him out. It seems that animals get better treatment than Christians there.
Persecution and opposition have always accompanied the advance of the Gospel, but we miss something very important if we look at persecution as simply “bad things happening to good people.” Persecution is tied to the very nature of the Gospel and is essential to its progress. Our persecution is linked to Christ’s own sufferings (Philippians 3:7-10, Colossians 1:24; 1 Peter 4:12, 13). Our persecution has many divine purposes, even if they don’t make sense to us (Genesis 50:15-21; Acts 7:54-60; Act 9:10-15). And our persecution glorifies God. His Word advances as His people demonstrate trust, hope, love, and grace while suffering for Him (2Corinthians 6:3-10; Philippians 1:12-14; Hebrews 10:32-36; I Peter 4:14-16).
For Christians in many lands, life is caught somewhere between faith and fear. It brings to mind one of the Gospel’s great missionary passages. The Lord Jesus told His followers that He was sending them out as “lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). How could He do such a thing - sending His people unarmed into the jaws of death? He could because He did so Himself. From Gethsemane to Golgotha, the Lamb not only walked among wolves, but even “gave Himself a ransom for all” (I Timothy 2:6). And as Christ explained in Matthew 10:2-25, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master.” Christians who live among wolves bring light to dark places by their lives – and sometimes by their deaths. And they find comfort in His company.
Let the Gospel be evident in your response to persecution.
Used by Permission: For the complete “Gospel Meditations for Missions” devotional, please visit Church Works Media at: churchworksmedia.com