Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jesus Freak?

So there I was, about 16, sitting in youth group one warm Wednesday night in the year 2000. My youth pastor, Mike, was teaching us about fear. You know, the scary movie, dark woods, basement kind of fear. He stood behind our church’s huge wooden pulpit as he explained that we do not need to be afraid because our God is bigger and is always in control. I don’t remember much of what he said next because I was distracted by the two men that burst through our church doors. They were holding guns.

Being a skeptical teenager, I immediately thought: bogus! Turning to my pastor, expecting a huge smile to appear on his face, I prayed for the prank to end prematurely. But, instead of snickering, I saw Pastor Mike grab his little girl and hide her behind the pulpit.

My life didn’t flash before my eyes then, but I can tell you that the world suddenly played in slow motion. I didn’t know who the two men were because they were wearing ski masks. I felt my body slowly slide off of my chair and hover near the ground, obeying their commands to “get down!”. I can tell you that I felt as if my heart had moved from its position in my chest to a new position right inside my ears. And I can tell you that the only thought echoing through my mind the moment the men grabbed my friend’s brother was:

What will I say if they ask me to deny Christ?

As they dragged Zach back toward the doors they came through, I heard another teenager yell, “Those are BB guns!”

Yup. You guessed it. A prank. Well, I guess not so much of a prank as an “object lesson.” All pulled off by my fearless youth pastor, Mike Hendricks. While it wasn’t the most conventional way to teach your youth about being fearless (he had many calls from parents that night, I think), it did the trick. At least for me, it got me to think.

Right afterward, I felt so ashamed that my thought would be “What?” and not “I’ll never deny Him!” But, I guess that is just our human nature.

Reading through stories of modern day martyr’s I can’t help but feel a little anxious when I put myself in their position. If a military man threatened to roll over my body with a steam roller, would I be able to sing praise songs while each bone crunched underneath the weight of the machine? Would I truly be able to keep praying as men drowned my pastor (who is, actually, my dad) in a trough of urine? Would I keep eyes and heart set on the heavens as men beat and raped me?

Dear Lord, I pray that I would be able to stand strong in the face of fear and evil; I pray that you will always be my core desire and no earthly bribe or threat will be able to make me deny you.

Right here, in my comfy American life. I can tell you that I would never deny my Lord and Savior. I truly believe that there are those who are called to martyrdom (similar those who are called to a celibate life) and they are equipped with grace to withstand. If, that is me, I will not deny Christ because I know that I will not be alone.

Think about it. And read up on a few stories of our brothers and sisters who will be wearing the martyr’s crown when we meet them in Heaven: http://www.persecution.com/.



Daily Offensive (baha!) said...

Wow...I bet your youth pastor got a lotta calls. What if one of those kids woulda had a heart attack or something?! Point made, but still a bit extreme.

Good post miss Sazaran!

It's scary to me...to sit and ponder how much strength I actually have when it comes to standing in my truth if tested in full force...I hope that never comes, and until then...I pray for those that are being persecuted. Good link.


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