Today you should read: Revelation 6
Months of solitary confinement, years of periodic physical torture, constant suffering from hunger and cold, the anguish of brainwashing and mental cruelty – these are the experiences of Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian pastor, during his 14 years in Communist prisons.
His crime, like that of thousands of others, was his fervent belief in Jesus Christ and his public witness concerning that faith.
Meeting in homes, in basements, in the woods – sometimes daring to preach on public street corners – these faithful souls persisted in their Christian witness knowing full well the ultimate cost of their actions.
Reading about Richard Wumbrand breaks my heart and I am sure it breaks yours as well. The cruelty and torture that a Christian could face just by preaching the good news of Jesus Christ, it doesn’t make sense. To my American culture brain I can’t understand why a government would react so harshly to such a harmless act. Why would sharing the gospel warrant such a severe reaction by sinful man?
I often forget about my brothers and sisters in Christ who endure such persecution. I get caught up in my problems and worry’s for the day. I feel like I am going through persecution when my email gets backed up or if the wifi at the coffee shop is too slow. In our passage today we see that the fifth seal is dedicated to those who are being slaughtered for the name of Jesus. What a small perspective that I have and we have in the western church. There is such a cost to following Jesus and many of us are not willing to pay it, yet, we don’t actually know it because we have never been tested. Do you put your faith out there for people to hear and see? If you were faced with prison, torture, or death would you proclaim the name of Jesus? Is your faith genuine regardless of the context that you are in?
Fear is the factor that holds most of us back from proclaiming the name of Jesus to those around us. In some ways your fear is healthy. People do die for their faith and are tortured for their faith every day. Sometimes God allows it to happen for his glory (v.11). Courage and faith do not come because of the promise of comfort. Courage comes because of the promise of victory (v.12-17). In the end God wins and those who are his children will be avenged and comforted by their heavenly father. Those who choose to follow their own sinful path will be begging for death when they see the king.
Posted by: Chad Wiles