Saturday, July 12, 2008

When God's Rule Breaks In

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"

Many mistakenly suppose that our work here at The Voice of the Martyrs is fairly grim business. Daily we receive reports from around the world laced with pain, sadness and loss. And so there is unquestionably an aspect of sorrow and somberness to our ministry. It is what drives us to our knees and compels us to seek ways of ministering to those who suffer for their faith.

But there is also the unexplainable joy that surrounds so many of these saints. A well-know church leader has stated in his recent book: "In his messengers Christ himself still suffers, still hangs on the Cross. And yet he is risen, irrevocably risen. Although Jesus' messenger in this world is still living the story of Jesus' suffering, the splendour of the Resurrection shines through, and it brings a joy, a "blessedness," greater than the happiness he could formerly have experienced on worldly paths. It is only now that he realizes what real "happiness," what true "blessedness" is, and, in doing so, notices the paltriness of what conventional standards must be considered satisfaction and happiness."     

Joy in the midst of suffering and loss; this is what happens when God's rule breaks into our life, when the Kingdom comes.


Laurel said...

" brings a joy, a 'blessedness', greater than the happiness he could formerly have experienced on worldly paths...."

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Isaiah 55:2 (New International Version)

Ah, that we could come to that conclusion here in the West. That we could truly convince ourselves this is not heaven, this is not the place to spend (time or money) on our own pleasures but to focus on the Kingdom of God.... I understand there is a balance, but we are far too "balanced" in the wrong direction, I believe. I work in retail, and I am always looking with longing at the beautiful things on the shelves I think I need.... then I ask myself, "why?" what will it add to your life, really? What will life be like without it? Will this purchase benefit God's Kingdom? Will it draw me nearer to Jesus? As long as it is within my power, I believe I should eat properly, wear decent and clean clothing and live in a healthy environment, but do I need to spend the time/energy/money I do on my own pleasures? or could I give up something for the One Who gave up everything for me....

LizB said...

Sometimes I think it is really hard to understand what the persecuted christians go through unless you have been there!
Reading all these stories, the suffering and then the emphasis on the joy of God...Is just so hard for me to imagine.
I believe you must have a close and be at a level of maturity in your walk with God to experience that true joy.
Here in the West I don't think a lot of christians have a clue....however I will continue to pray for the persecuted Church with a passion.
I thank God for all the ministries out there.