"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient , but the things that are unseen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
In November a bunch of us went down to Birmingham to join two thousand others for the Open Doors Celebration. Open Doors is an organisation that supports persecuted Christians around the world. Hearing about the persecution of Christians - how can that be a celebration? It will be depressing won't it?
Tears filled my eyes as I heard of the torture of Christians but the tears were of joy too as I heard testimonies of the Lord’s sustaining power in the midst of suffering as believers put their trust in God not the leader of their country. A beautiful little old lady who had escaped North Korea (the most dangerous country in the world to be a Christian), shared with us the prayer her mother taught her: "Lord, Lord please help us". I was humbled by this simple prayer - dependence on Him.
We heard that globally the persecution of Christians is the highest it's ever been. It could be assumed that the number of people turning to Christ would therefore decrease but the opposite is the case. We heard that in the face of persecution the gospel grows. Who wants a faith that you could live without and won't affect your life? Christ claims he is the way, the truth and the life.
As murdered missionary Jim Elliot had said "he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."