During bible study at the church I attend we were reading from Hebrews 10:32-34, in which it states ‘You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions’. One of the ladies in our study group asked if we could even imagine going through something so awful as someone taking our property because we were followers of God. Another woman, Cora, stated that realistically the time was probably near and that she believes it may come to this or worse. But if you watch any type of news or read headlines at least you know that for some, the time has already come. All over the world people are being persecuted for believing in God. People die for evangelism, they are beaten for carrying bibles, they huddle in cramped quarters to read the word of God in secret because churches are illegal, they rejoice when they get a bible as if they’ve won a million dollars because they understand the value, the privilege. When I hear stories about people literally risking their lives to get their hands on a copy of the bible that I casually toss in my purse I realize just how much I take for granted the many freedoms I have. I can choose to go to one of the churches openly lining the streets in my neighborhood with little fear of persecution. I am able to decide if I am going to read one of the many translations of the bible I have in my home or go to a small group bible study because it is not a crime to do so. Yet often times I choose not to go to church or am late, I ditch bible study because I’ve had a long day and my bed is so inviting or it’s too cold to go back out of the house; or I decide to spend only a couple of minutes with God at the end of my day after all I’ve watched all of my shows, talked on the phone with friends, done some other reading and scrolled through Facebook. Seriously, if I had a significant other and he treated me the way I do God we wouldn’t have much of a relationship, so I thank God that he isn’t human! I often times treat God as a side order in life when I know He is to be my entrée; but even still with my lack of devotion I want Him dedicated to meeting my needs, I constantly want to hear from Him without consistently seeking His face and I want to see miracles produced in my life but don’t always want to do what it takes to have an intimate relationship with the miracle worker. I am somewhat of a spiritual spoiled brat and living my life this way makes me privileged in my freedom’s and rich in choices but very spiritually bankrupt.
While listening to the radio today I heard that a terrorist group called for an attack on malls in Canada, the UK and US, the Mall of America specifically. It brought to mind the conversation I had with the women in my bible study class, what if it became a crime to read the bible, to attend bible study or to praise God outwardly, what if you had to fear for you life every time you entered a church, what if someone gave you a choice to renounce God or die? It is a scary concept but with the reality of abductions, murders, rapes and terrorist threats in the name of religion constantly occurring and the continued removal of God from our institutions one can’t be sure they will not have to make such a decision. In 2 Timothy 3:12 it states, Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. The time that we have now is so precious because we can use it wisely to get to know God intimately without fearing persecution but if the time came where that is what we faced would we be prepared or would Jesus’ response to us be, verily I say unto you, I know you not.