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We Don't Suffer Enough

"The saving purposes of Christ among the nations and in our neighborhoods will not be accomplished unless Christians choose to suffer." -John Piper, Desiring God

I read those words this morning and I felt instantly convicted.  When do I ever choose to suffer?  Not enough.  I spend more time choosing comfort and ease instead of choosing to sacrifice or even worse, suffer.  When I think about suffering I think about great Christian martyrs like William Tyndale, Jim Elliott, Dietrich Bonfoeffer,the Whitmans and countless others.

I recently read the story of the life of John Hyde, missionary to India.  John Hyde knew sacrifice. He would pray on his knees for 8 hours a day crying out to God for the lost around him.  His doctors say that the strain of his burden for the lost drove his heart into premature failure and death. In fact, bewildering his doctors, his heart had shifted from the left side of his chest to the right hand side.  Frequently, he would invite young boys off the streets into his home and many times they would steal from him.  One winter day John realized a young man had walked off with all his winter coats, so John went to a missionary colleague asking to borrow a spare.  The other missionary scolded him for housing such rabble rowsers.  But his response was, "If we loved men more and sacrificed for them more, we'd we'd have more of a heart to pray." 

It seems like home decorating, vacation dreaming, socializing at the right places and justifying the purchase of the latest iphone are what top our priority lists these days.  Can we say, as Paul said, "I count all things but rubbish in order that I might gain Christ." (Phil 3:8)?  Gaining Christ was truly Paul's greatest passion.  Is it ours?  

Piper continues, "Without martyrs the final frontiers of world evangelization will not be crossed.  Less extreme is the simple costliness in time and convenience and money and effort to replace excessive and addictive leisure with acts of servant love."  -John Piper

I am not saying we all need to die for the sake of Christ.  But we don't even want to sacrifice a wee bit anymore.  Indeed, it takes time to reach out to your hurting neighbor whose husband just left her. It takes energy to visit the sick, to put aside your agenda to hear out a co-worker whom you don't particularly care for.  Those things may not be considered "suffering" but they might be the first steps we need to start replacing our senseless leisure with acts of love.

After reading such challenging thoughts I need to ask, "How might God be asking me (and you) to "suffer" for His sake this week?"

Comments

  1. Good post, Julie. God has been speaking to Shaun and I about suffering and sacrifice lately as well. Honestly it is scary to think what God might really want from us. You are right, though, to reach this nation of Paraguay (or any nation in the world) with the gospel, sacrifice will be required of those of us living here and seeking Him.

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