I’m reading a martyr/persecution story called Hearts of Fire. Or, rather, I was reading it last summer. I stopped. I want to read the rest, but I feel too guilty.
Hearts of Fire is a publication from Voice of the Martyrs. The book blurb says,
The eight modern-day pilgrims featured in “Hearts of Fire” are the hidden jewels in the church universal. They are worthy role models of faith and passion, and women of every age will gain new strength and hope for their own times of crisis and trial as they read these inspiring stories.
Women, Men, families, and children undergo traumatic persecution which is recounted in the book. These are true stories. Some have happened in the recent past, others in the more recently distant past. Many Christians in this world experience these things every day. They run from men wielding machetes. The watch their church get bombed. They’re inside their church when it’s bombed. They come home to a burning house. Their children are kidnapped, or killed in front of them. They lose jobs, are exiled, flee to exile, and more.
Nothing of the sort is happening to me.
I live in America and Christians are not experiencing hard persecution yet. It is no risk to our lives to proclaim our faith. Not yet.
Even so, other people experience job pressures or soft persecution at their place of employment. Some live with the daily struggle of how to submit to an unbelieving spouse. Others in business experience the tidal wave of a litigious society bent on pushing the homosexual agenda. Still others live where there is no solid fellowship, doctrinal teaching, or support at their home churches. I don’t even have a dread disease to struggle with and learn how to exalt Jesus through it all.
To be clear, my life has not been a bed of roses. I have experienced traumatic events post-salvation for the cause of Jesus, but they haven’t lasted long or been life-threatening, or even put me off-kilter for more than a few weeks.
I’m not experiencing any of those pressures.
I feel guilty about it.
Of course, I don’t want persecution to come to me at this juncture, who would ask for it? I don’t want soft persecution in the form of harassment or employment pressure to come to me, who would? I don’t want hard living with a daily struggle of marital pressures of a child murder or spiritual wilderness living apart from any congregation of good doctrine.
But why should I escape?
If there is such a thing as survivor guilt, I have persecution guilt, or better stated, non-persecution guilt. If that makes sense.
Someone said to me that I am not going through a season of difficulty right now so that I can pray for others who are. That could be. It’s of some comfort. I do pray, so…
And yet I know the Lord is sovereign, and His ways are just and perfect. He has my life in His hands. He deems for it what is necessary for His glory and my sanctification. Who am I to grumble if I am in the pit of despair? Who am I to grumble if I am on the heights of comfort?
The lesson for me is to make the most of this time where my equanimity is abounding and I can study, pray, write, and help. I know that the Lord promised that any true believer will experience difficulties for His name. So I’m waiting. Tomorrow I may be diagnosed…be in a car crash…learn something terrible about my family…experience job loss…
Or I may go to the County Library book sale, get a coffee and come home.
The Lord is mysterious. Praise the Lord.