I had always known that the persecuted existed. When I was in high school, I tried becoming involved in various Voice of the Martyrs endevours, but as an underage, unemployed youth, there was only so much I could do. Now, I am still underage (at least for drinking), and I am still unemployed. But a passion has begun to flower again in my soul. The roots were always there, planted in my formative years the Christmas I received the Jesus Freaks book. But I have not had a resurrection of purpose since those pubertial days. Who knows what has sparked this new notion. Perhaps a drop of water in the form of a friend, passionate about the deletes of India. Perhaps a handful of fertilizer in the form of my first copy of the Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Perhaps a favorable wind in the form of a Sunday School lesson on II Corinthians 1:3-4. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
As the savage civilization, we have been given so many comforts, and have taken so many of these comforts for granted. Should we not move to take advantage of these almost automatic comforts in order to provide even the most basic comforts to those of our brothers and sisters impoverished? We do not have to worry about things such as where our next meal will come from, or our next pair of shoes. The Bible, the thing most coveted in hostile and restricted nations, is one of the most accessible objects to us here in America. Therefore, since we do not have to worry for our own livelihoods or the livelihoods of our loved ones (and here I do not refer to that kind of worry that is shallow and in the end inconsequential…you will live if you can’t scrape together enough money to buy that double whopper from Lipid King or Mcholesterol), could we not seek to provide these basic comforts to our brothers and sisters in Christ?
We, Christians, have heard this phrase so often that I think it loses meaning for many of us. Ok, they are our ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’, yeah, I’ll pray for them whenever our pastor leads the church to pray on the occasional ‘International Sunday’, but besides that, what are they to me? I’ll see them in heaven and then it will be one big party. Do you think Jesus will look kindly on those who did not show as much care for others as for themselves? Do you think there will be a joyous reunion between you and those persecuted and martyred when you did nothing to relieve their suffering? Or will seeing their scars and the sacrifices they made for our Saviour produce some of the tears that He will have to wipe from your eyes? Is your indifference something that will go up in flames as hay, wood, and stubble? I lay this criticism on me as much as anyone else. I have been too comfortable. From the moment I wake till the moment I fall into my comfortable, clean bed in my sheltered, dry, dorm room, I think of nothing but my own comfort and success. What shall I eat? What shall I wear? What shall I do to relax since my life possesses so many hardships and I need the time to “unwind”?
For introducing one discomfort, or even the lack of a complete comfort, into our lives, I foresee a great resistance. Even I, when faced with the conclusions of my own argument, immediately feel the threads of complaint wrapping themselves around my throat. After all, I am a citizen in the most successful country in the world, so why should I not live like it? And then the answer comes to me. We should live like we control the most prosperous country in the world. But maybe our idea of what that looks like has been founded on the wrong set of ideals, the wrong ‘worldview’ if you please.