Light and Momentary

Our family routinely prays for missionaries. The truth is, we're all called to be "missionaries." We are called to live a missional life, where ever and in what ever context. As Christ followers and recipients of new life, we too have now been called to the same ministry of reconciliation that found and saved us. We are to share the Good News at all times, to all people. 

The missionaries we particularly pray for are those who live and serve the Lord in regions, areas and countries where there is great opposition to Christianity. Our brothers and sisters living in various parts of the country risk their lives every day just to worship God or to tell others about his love. Something we freely can do here in the United States but yet so infrequently find ourselves doing. It is their daily reality to literally live out what scripture says in Corinthians, "We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:8-10. 

With tear filled eyes, there is nothing more humbling or convicting. I am utterly undone when I think about their love and devotion to our beautiful Savior. They willingly and knowingly "choose" suffering because that's the only way they can choose the God who has loved and saved them. What would merit this type of radical disregard for their very own life? The apostle Paul goes on to say, "We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be displaced in our body."  (2 Corinthians 4:11) The least I can do is pray for them. The least I can do is read my bible and to worship with full of faith and gladness because I can without fear of imprisonment, torture or death. 

Should I feel ashamed or bad that God has chosen/allowed me to live in a land that is free? No. Sometimes we don't choose the battle or journey, but the battle or journey chooses us. But I can show gratitude and stand in solidarity with my persecuted brothers and sisters by daily actively joining in the fight. I can intercede in prayer. I can financially support. I can bring about awareness. I can do my part. I can live a missional life. 

Our brothers and sisters in these spiritually dark, persecuted and oppressed areas accept the good from our Lord and they realize there is a cost to following Jesus. What could possibly be their motivation? The eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 gives us this promise, particularly when we face hardships, trials and afflictions, "For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 

They continually fix their heart and gaze on Jesus Christ alone. They joyfully and gladly wait for that day when they will stand face to face before him. There will be no pain, no suffering, no tears but only joy, gladness and worship for all of eternity. 

Friend, what you and I are experiencing is real, valid and important to God. It's hard and challenging. But I encourage you to take heart and keep perspective. It's temporary. 


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