Who Are We
We should be jealous. . . for the honour of His name – troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed. And all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honour and glory which are due to it.” John Stott
Sunday, August 17, 2008
"Would you be mad at me if I volunteered to die?"
Our training at MTI this week as spurred many interesting conversations between us. Let me give you a little background for this question that Wayne asked me. Wednesday morning, the topic on our schedule was You Under Stress. Tuesday afternoon we had talked about different kinds of stress, and so I'm thinking on Wednesday morning, we may talk about how to deal with the stress of shopping in a new culture, or dealing with the stress of learning a new language. It was a little different though. We told we were going to be having a simulation that morning and then they broke us into two groups and took us to the basement. We were then herded into a small space about 8 feet long, 6 feet wide and 5 feet high made out of cardboard boxes. It was then that we were told what the simulation was. "You are hiding from rebels who have taken over the area. Your children have been evacuated to safety, but you must figure out how to survive." We heard the rebels moving around outside our shelter once in a while and had to be quiet, then had to make sure everyone was ok, and then at one point, we were told that 5 of us could evacuate on a plane that was coming in to rescue some and we had to pick who. Later on, the "rebels" found us and were then told we could free 3 people, and finally we had to pick people to be executed. The simulation finally ended with 4 of our group "shot" (complete with real gun sounds) and we were all freed.
Yes, it was just a simulation, but for many of us, it brought images of what could really happen. Even reading the news this week, we are reminded that the world is a very volatile place. We have no guarantees of our future, and though Senegal is a very peaceful country, we never know what the future may hold. I was also reminded very strongly this week though that God is in control and on the throne. To be honest, I was very excited at the end of the simulation to realize the peace that God had given me. If I had done this a few years ago, I think I would have been much more emotional and frightened during this simulation, just thinking about the possibility of this happening. It was amazing to me though the peace that God gave me, because I know it was all from Him.
I have been thinking a lot about persecution lately (this was just one of the many reasons why). I was reading Philippians 3 this week and was struck by the verses 10-11..."that I may know him and the power of his resurrection"... ok, sounds good to me!..."and may share in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead." This last half is what I have been thinking about. I am glad that God has saved me and that I will be like him in the resurrection, but often I really don't want to share in his sufferings or become like him in his death. But this is what he has called me to do! I was reading in 1 Peter later and it talks about rejoicing in suffering which I share with Christ. Too often that is the last thing I want to do! But then I was thinking about what I often pray, "Father, make me more like your Son." And then I realized that this prayer is not just about being like Christ in his glorification, but in his suffering as well. We often speak of taking up our crosses as just being inconvenienced by people, but what if it really means following Jesus into death, am I willing to do that as well?
So this brings us to Wayne's question, "Would you be mad at me if I volunteered to die?" We were told to pick 3 people who were to be executed. If we didn't pick, they would kill us all. This was a very difficult decision for both groups (we were in separate groups by the way). And my answer to him? "No!" Yes, I would be very sad, but I would not be angry. God is calling both of us to serve him overseas. Our lives are his. And we firmly believe that this means both in life and in death, we are his. We believe that God will redeem any sacrifice that we make, even though he may not save us in this life. We want to know Christ and be like him.