Mothers run into burning buildings, jump into raging rapids, endangering our own lives to rescue our children. I look at Jennifer—she’s equally a hero. I know another Jennifer—we wanted to have her present this year, but three snow days deprived us of a lot. This other Jennifer was diagnosed with cancer when she was pregnant, and she refused treatment until after the baby was born. Our Jennifer also risked her own life to give her baby life.
Why do they do this? Compelled by love, they value the lives of their babies above their own. They may not have seen them, but they know their wombs are their sanctuaries, and their babies haven’t a chance without them. God bless them for choosing life for their children at the risk of their own.
But these two ladies I love know Someone else, and they know all of us have only a short time on this earth compared to eternity. Even those of us who live to the ripe old age of 72 are aware this life is a quickly passing time, and we shall leave it behind. We have our eyes fixed on another place, another time, another dimension. Do you?
One Who has died and returned to this earth and this dimension has said He goes to prepare a place for us that where He is we may be also. He said He is the Way to that place, and the reason He stepped down from eternity to live on this planet was to make that way for us.
Recently 29 young men went to work in Libya. They could not find a job in their own country, Egypt, because of their beliefs. They were Coptic Christians. Again, in another country, they were persecuted for their faith. Captured by Isis, they were forced to kneel on the sand and chose. Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they were asked to give up their faith. If they would just proclaim themselves to be Muslim, they would be allowed to live. Every one of them proclaimed Jesus is Lord, and one by one they were beheaded. The scene was shown on television across the globe—Isis made poor choice, because the world saw a faith worth dying for. It has been said the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. I have a book at home, Martyred for Christ, and I receive a monthly magazine by that name. Did you know more Christians have been martyred for their faith in the last century than in all the centuries since the Resurrection of Christ? We think of the lion’s den, the Roman catacombs, Nero—even the Reformation, but no, now is the time of martyrdom.
The Church in America is so blasé. We see fake murders in movies and on TV, but those actors live another day. It’s not real. Perhaps we have become inured to murder and mayhem. We spend more time listening about, talking about, arguing about whether gays should have a wedding cake than the death and kidnapping of hundreds of Christians in Africa. We tweet: “bring back our girls” for a couple of days and forget. We don’t imagine it could happen to us here. For us, if someone ridicules us or rejects us, that’s persecution. Give me a break.
What would you die for? If you were forced to kneel and the woman beside you had her head cut off, would you, too, confess Jesus? You might die to rescue your child, but would you die for an unseen Savior? True story: in North Korea after the war that divided that nation, Christians were rounded up. A father was forced at gunpoint to dig a trench. His wife and children were marched into that trench and buried alive before his eyes. His wife sang songs of faith and assured her children over and over that: “In just a few minutes we’ll see Jesus.” She knew one day her husband would be with them in that place that Jesus has prepared for us. One of the soldiers who saw this was haunted until the day he found the Savior and a faith to die for.
That Korean mother knew, and I know. Death has no sting for me. Eternity is a long time—an unending time. Talking of His impending death, Jesus told us. “If I go, I go to prepare a place for you, and I will come again to receive you to Myself.” We will have a personal escort to that place! When the first martyr, Stephen, was being stoned, he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Those 29 young men on the Libyan sand saw the same thing, and like him they cried, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Do we have a faith to sustain us, a faith die for?
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