The Cost of Faith: Part 2

In case you missed it, you can read Part 1 here.

05/22/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – One of ICC’s India field staffers encoun­tered persecution as a teenager, before he even felt called to minister to the persecuted. He was on an evangelism trip with eight other people, going from village to village. Whenever they spotted a car, they would stop, pop the trunk, and preach while handing out literature.

They stopped to eat on the side of the road, when a loud blast interrupted their meal. Suddenly, a mob of 100 people surged forward, surrounded them on all sides, and started beating them. The crowd damaged the vehicle, pulled electricity plugs, and shredded a Jesus film.

Someone grabbed a matchbox, intending to burn the missionaries alive inside the vehicle. Without notice, the India field staffer felt a sudden burst of courage. He began to translate for his leader, rebuking the mob in the name of God. The mob dispersed, and the group of missionaries was left without any major injuries.

Rather than discouraging him from proclaim­ing God’s message, the experience lit a spiritual fire within him. “I didn’t realize at the time that God wanted to use me in the similar ministry to help the persecuted. That experience, even though it was 25 years [ago], still helps me to carry on what I am doing today,” he explained, “David wrote in Psalm 63 when he was in [a] crisis situation, when he was being hunted by Saul, ‘Lord, you’re my God.’”

ICC’s Iraq field staffer shot an arrow straight to the heart of the problem of evil in his devo­tional on Matthew 16 at the conference.

When Jesus told his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem to suffer under the hands of the chief priests and the teachers of the law, Peter took him aside and rebuked him, saying, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!”

Peter isn’t alone in his gut response to persecution.

Lulled into slumber, unwilling to risk it all for Christ, the West declares with the same adamancy – “Never, Lord! We should never face persecution!”

Jesus disagreed. He looked at Peter in the face and declared, “Get behind me, Satan!”

Jesus’s message to Peter still rings true for us: “Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

ICC’s field staff has seen and felt persecu­tion. They know the cost. Yet, they’ve also witnessed God’s power pervade even in the darkest of times through the men and women who faithfully proclaim His name in the midst of suffering. That is why ICC’s team sang that day: “In love, you came and gave amazing grace.”

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