“And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” Hebrews 11:36-38
I often heard of the stories of old when people had to walk to school in the snow uphill both ways. School was miles away and there was somehow blistering heat even in the snow. Things were so rough that it is a miracle our ancestors even survived. I cannot imagine living in those times, and I am grateful to be born when I was.
We moved to Chicago in 1994, and I was not thrilled with the move. I did not want to leave my friends and family, and I was not excited about starting anew. I loved Phoenix and I felt like my young life was starting over. I was thankful for a fresh start in some ways, but I was against leaving Phoenix as it was all I ever knew. My parents didn’t ask me if I wanted to move to Illinois, but they simply told me we were moving. I thought of a million ways to stay in Arizona, but it simply was not going to happen.
One night in the summer of '95 we were driving around, and I was telling my dad how miserable I was. I spoke of not being able to find new friends, and how I wanted to be back in Arizona. I told him he didn’t understand what I was going through, and I told him how he didn’t understand how I felt. He looked at me and said, "How do you think I feel? I lived in Phoenix my whole life, and I left my friends, family, and church home where I served. I had to uproot my family, and I have to deal with the fact that not all are thrilled with the move."
I sunk in my seat, and I felt like the world's biggest jerk. I had considered only myself, and my dad’s words made me feel his pain. My pain and discomfort seemed minuscule in comparison, and I realized things were not so bad for me. I was so selfish in my thinking, and I never considered how anyone else felt.
I have heard Christians claim they are persecuted because people make fun of them or make snide comments about their beliefs. The Bible speaks of those who went through torture, beatings, stoning, and those who paid the ultimate price. Public ridicule hardly portrays the things these Christians went through for the name of the Christ. Even today, there are Christians around the world who have faith until the bitter end and those who find joy for the persecution they faced in the name of Jesus Christ. The Bible speaks of Christians who possessed such a testimony that the Bible said, “…of whom the world was not worthy.” We often complain about how others treat us, but do we have the testimony of these great believers? The goal we should have is that the world would not be worthy of our great testimony and our walk with God.
Do you only see the mocking and ridicule others give you for being a Christian? Do others even know you are a Christian? Is your viewpoint selfish or do you consider your God? Will you be willing to go through the fire for your Lord and Savior? What will be said of you when your time is finished on this earth? May we be challenged and convicted by those who suffered and suffer for Christ, and may we strive to live like those, “of whom the world was not worthy.”
Stay in the fight!