“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I may not meet many believers when I visit Iraq, but no doubt I will have the honor of interacting with individuals enduring immense suffering and persecution. I felt inadequate when worshipping years ago with Indian believers who had sacrificed much to identify publicly with Jesus Christ, and I am sure that I will feel the same in Iraq. My prayer for persecuted disciples is that God strengthens without hardening; a world of difference lies between firmness and callousness. My prayer for you and me is that when the inevitable crucible comes we find deeply rooted spiritual reserves upon which to call. It is not possible to endure and excel this moment and the next without previously ingrained disciplines that foster a hardy response to the fire. Today is the best opportunity to prepare my heart for what may threaten to crush it tomorrow.
(Photo by Samaritan’s Purse)