Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dear Persecuted Christian

Dear Persecuted Christian,

Greetings, from a rich, pampered American. I'm a bit embarrassed about that description, but it's the truth.

I read about you often, and pray for you. As do our children, after seeing your names and faces here. My Sunday School students have written letters to you, and I did too. But you seem so far away. And your trials seem so removed from my little life. But I believe in Jesus along with you. His is a love like none other, don't you think?

The other day, I was asked what kind of persecution I have suffered for my faith. I had no answer. I'm not sure that I have ever suffered for my faith. Somehow, though, God in Heaven has still called me His own, and I come rejoicing to Him. My faith is real and true, and encouraged so incredibly by your joy in the midst of trials, your honest endurance in the midst of persecution.

Not too long ago, my six-year old daughter was laying on a gurney with a broken arm, her pain twisting and writhing her little body. We waited, sometimes patiently and sometimes impatiently, for the late-night surgeon who skipped his own childrens' Christmas pageant to put our little girl's arm back together. How I wanted to take away her pain, skip the trial, anything to avoid the agony!

How much worse your agony is! And yet you persist. Nothing is skipped or medicated.

Thank you.

You ask God, "How long?" and He answers, "A little while longer." You remain faithful.

That faith does not go by unnoticed. Even if no one here notices.

I thank you for allowing God's answer to be "No." He has not yet returned for His bride, to rescue you from the suffering you endure.

For a little while longer, you wait.

And I'm thankful. Twenty years ago, others were waiting, and some even died waiting...

Like Linh Dao from Vietnam (killed in 1991) and Romulo Saune from Peru (killed in 1992). Also, Gul Masih killed in Pakistan (1992), Pastor Selchun in Nigeria, and Jackie Hamill who was shot and killed in the Philippines in 1992.

I feel like I know these brothers and sisters personally. Perhaps in Heaven I will get the chance to thank them.

Because as they suffered, this naive American sinner became a naive American saint.

Thank you for suffering one more minute, one more hour, so that I could come to know Jesus, the One who will indeed wipe away every tear.

Now, some twenty years later, I thank you, Brother Gao, for suffering another hour, another day, so that others might still be wooed by the ultimate Lover.

Thank you to Pastor Yimiti who is in prison for fifteen years, after converting from Islam to Christianity and daring to give others the Ultimate Hope. And thank you to his wife and children, who now persist, and endure, without father, husband, and fellow Christian. All so that others might know my Savior God.

Thank you to all of my North Korean brothers and sisters who live with an average life expectancy of three months upon confessing their faith in Jesus Christ. Three months to live. But an eternity in His presence.

Looking to Him who will indeed have victory, I await the day I will stand next to saints like these and sing in final triumph.

On that white horse He’ll ride
With blazing eyes of fire

He’ll judge and make things right

Turn all the dark to light
When He splits the eastern sky
With heaven wings I’ll fly
And I will say good-bye
To these tears I’ve cried

Around His throne of grace
We’ll see Him face to face

With those who’ve gone before
We’ll be apart no more
And we will hear the sound
As all are gathered ‘round
Like peals of thunder loud
We will shout

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Salvation and glory and power belong to our King
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, we will sing

Our king of Kings we’ll see

Faithful and True is He
Our faith at last in sight
No more fears and doubts to fight
In heavens choir we’ll be
With robes of majesty
From sin and death now free
We will sing!

What a day that will be
When all darkness finally flees
When all bow and sing to the King
What a day that will be

When His glory we will see
When all bow and sing to the King

We will shout we will sing
We will shout we will sing We will shout we will sing
To the Lamb, to the Lord
To our God, to the King
We will shout we will sing
We will shout we will sing, we will sing

Until then, I'm trusting in Him alone. And praying for you.

Again, thank you for the extra minute, hour, day of endurance.



Anonymous said...

amen K

Karen said...

Oh, and the lyrics are Tommy Walker's from his song, Hallelujah, We Will Sing. Can't wait to do it with you all!