Today’s great post is from the Desiring God blog.
Bethlehem 2018 Conference for Pastors + Church Leaders | Minneapolis
By John Piper
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial
when it comes upon you to test you,
as though something strange were happening to you.
But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings,
that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ,
you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
—1 Peter 4:12–14
December 6 last year at 6:45 in the morning, I was sitting in my chair in our living room. It was still dark outside, and my one reading light was on beside the chair. My iPad was open to my daily Bible reading portion. I had just spent my 36 minutes on the treadmill in the attic, showered, made myself a cup of hot tea, and settled in to enjoy a time of fellowship with the Lord Jesus over his word.
I remember pausing before I begin to read and thinking: I love this quietness. I love this room with its carpet and furniture and fireplace. I love this chair the way it supports me. I love the lighting in this one small spot on this dark, cold morning. I love the feeling in my muscles and the warmth of this orange wool sweater. And I love the sweetness of this tea, and that I have no pain anywhere in my body.
And then my mind shifted. I had been reading a book called Avenue of Spies by Alex Kershaw about the French resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II. I had read how the Gestapo would arrest anyone suspected of disloyalty to the Nazi regime, and to make more room in the prison, they might simply shoot fifty suspected collaborators. And I read about the tortures as they tried to break the secret circles of espionage against Nazi occupation.
From Comfort to Persecution
Only in my imagination, I was being persecuted for Jesus, and all I had to do to save my life, and go back to my comfortable home, was to say the words, “Jesus is not my Lord, and Jesus is not my Savior, and Jesus is not the Treasure of my life.” And as I thought about that moment, and whether I would have what it takes to endure agony without renouncing Jesus, I pleaded with my heavenly Father for the power of the Holy Spirit — that by the Spirit, God would make himself and his Son, the Lord Jesus, so real to me, and so glorious to me, and so satisfying to me, that these domestic pleasures all around me would be as nothing by comparison, and that I would be able, when the time came, to endure.
Grace for Today
Corrie ten Boom, who died in 1983, was a Dutch Christian who helped Jewish people escape Nazi Germany during the war, and who was herself imprisoned at the age of 52. She had the same question as a girl whether she would be able to suffer without betraying her Lord Jesus. She told her father, and the story goes like this:
“Daddy,” she had said one day, “I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.”
“Tell me,” her father wisely responded, “when you take a train trip from Haarlem to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?”
“No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train.”
“That is right,” he replied, “and so it is with God’s strength. Our wise Father in heaven knows when you are going to need things too. Today you do not need the strength to be a martyr. But as soon as you are called upon for the honor of facing death for Jesus, He will supply the strength you need — just in time.”
“I took great comfort in my father’s advice,” Corrie told her audience. “Later I had to suffer for Jesus in a [Nazi] concentration camp. He indeed gave me all the courage and power I needed.”
His Spirit Will Rest Upon You