"Speaking to CBN News from his cell in Khartoum prison, pastor David Yein said: 'I am NOT AFRAID of anything... I am never afraid of anything because it is my love... because I believe. God chose me to SUFFER.'"
Wow. What an incredible faith this pastor has. Not only is he not afraid, but he believes and is accepting that God might chose him to suffer.
Does this not seem countercultural to the extreme? As American Christians, we tend to have little theology of suffering. We are sold the commercial that this life all about fulfilling the American Dream, which is about everything getting bigger and better. Suffering? Well, that sounds profoundly unAmerican!
And yet, there are numerous Scriptures that tell us that we should expect persecution and suffering for our faith. Here are a few Scriptures on the subject:
- "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Tim. 3:12).
- "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you" (1 Pet. 4:12-14).
- "But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled" (1 Pet. 3:14).
- "Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you" (1 Jn. 3:13).
- “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!" (Luke 6:22).
- "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (Jn. 16:33).
- "Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name" (1 Pet. 4:16).
- "Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Rev. 2:10).
As our culture changes around us, are we willing to suffer for our faith and continue to boldly preach the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is that not what we are called to?