November 11, 2006

Suffering for Your Faith (1)

Matthew 5:10-12

"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom ..." Matthew 5:10


A recent movie titled The End of the Spear tells the story of five missionaries killed in 1956 by Waodani warriors in a rainforest in Ecuador. Their story was first written in the book Through Gates of Splendor, by Elisabeth Elliot, whose husband was one of the martyrs. This amazing story describes how the families of the martyred missionaries--despite their deep grief and bitter feelings--later went to live for a while among the Waodani, showing them the love of Jesus and helping them with medical treatment. Most of the tribespeople eventually became believers in Christ. The movie also shows how one of the missionaries' children returns later in life and resolves his bitterness with the warrior who had killed his father.

It's important to know that bitter tears are being shed today for Christians who are martyred for their faith in many places around the world. In his book Their Blood Cries Out, Paul Marshall reports that millions of Christians are persecuted simply because they believe in Jesus. We don't usually hear of these incidents through our news media, but some sources note that more Christians have died for their faith in the past century than in all the years combined since the birth of Christ. Let's keep praying for God's strength and comfort for all who are persecuted for Jesus' sake.

Lord, today we pray for all who are persecuted because of righteousness. Please sustain and strengthen them in their hour of need. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Jerry Hoytema

Pastor Jerry Hoytema is a retired minister living in Ontario. In his retirement he has served several churches as an interim pastor. He and his wife, Winnie, have four children and 13 grandchildren.

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