Standing Strong Through the Storm - Friday, November 22, 2013
STAND FIRM AND STAND TOGETHER
But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.1 Corinthians 12:24b-25
As members of the same family we have the responsibility to come to the aid of another member who is suffering. The body of Christ is strong when each part is closely knit together. When one part suffers, all the other members suffer (1 Corinthians 12:20–27).
Members of the persecuted church who have been helped by others around the world have made comments like those of young Salamat Masih in Pakistan. He was charged with writing blasphemies against the Prophet Mohammed—even though he was illiterate. He was on death row until finally exonerated. After receiving cards from all over the world assuring him of prayers, Salamat said: “I never realized that I had so many brothers and sisters around the world.”
A pastor who was attacked and hurt in Indonesia was so traumatized that he and the family left the area and the ministry. Before we judge him, perhaps we should ask if this pastor ever received enough encouragement and help from other churches and believers. Could it be that he felt so alone because there were not enough other people who cared for him?
Another believer from Hindu background in eastern Indonesia was led to the Lord by a doctor who prayed for him regarding his incurable disease and God healed him. He lost no time in joining a local church.
He said, “At that time, a lot of people accepted Jesus in my village, but they were afraid of the threats from their families. When they convert, village officials come to interrogate them. I, myself, have been interrogated many times after my conversion, and warned me not to convert others. But I was not afraid. I chose to keep my faith in Him no matter what happened.” He experienced severe opposition and persecution from everyone he knew but he held fast to his faith. Open Doors then connected him with a group of other believers from Hindu background.
In November 2010, he and his family met a different kind of opposition that tested their faith. Mount Bromo erupted, covering hundreds of hectares of farmlands and plantations with volcanic ash. “Our livestock died, and we could not work on the farm…People around me ask why I can still smile and be happy. I just tell them that although I am poor and I face a lot of difficulties, I have Jesus. He gives me joy in my heart…Being with other believers reminds me that I am not alone. I am encouraged all the more to share the gospel with my people.”
RESPONSE: Today I will remember that I am part of a large body…a family that deeply cares for me.
PRAYER: Pray for isolated believers that God will show them the reality of standing strong together.