“…those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”  1 Peter 4:19

For the last few weeks I’ve been reading Foxes Book of Martyrs, a most challenging book. It has certainly expanded my understanding of what suffering encompasses. The persecution of believers, starting shortly after the beginning of the church, and continuing right up to the present, is one long demonstration of the power of God in the lives of ordinary people.

In our age, the idea that God will protect us from evil is interpreted to mean that He will somehow remove from our lives all that makes us uncomfortable. Much of what we would label as persecution in our own lives is really discomfort or harassment, (even including most of what we personally are experiencing here in the Middle East).

Biblical definitions are different than this. Evil is what will harm us spiritually. Suffering is what can make us grow spiritually. The vast majority of martyrs recorded in Foxes’ book were killed for their stand on the Word of God as their authority; they rejected the additions and alterations to Scripture the church had made, and therefore were cruelly killed as heretics. They, almost to a person, demonstrated a courage and trust that allowed them to take up the grace of God and to die praising Him while praying for those who condemned them. How would we respond if put in such a position? These people are a real inspiration and model for us.  In tomorrow’s post I will give you one example from Foxes’ book.

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