Lord, give us some grit. Lee Grady in an article recounts his recent visit to Pakistan and an encounter with a Pakistani pastor that affected him deeply. This pastor oversees 900 house churches of approximately fifty persons each, and lives quite modestly, even by third world standards. He showed him several parts of his body that bore scars of gun shots, beatings, and physical assaults of all types because of his faith in Jesus. He spoke of the numerous attacks on Pakistani Christians, of miracles and healings he experienced as he ministered in the open air to crowds that were mostly non-Christian.
Believers in some countries experience great persecution, they are targeted by the state and radical opposing groups and yet they continue to hold fast to Jesus and thrive. The writer felt convicted of his own whining and complaining over the minor inconveniences of his relatively easy life. So should we, so should all Christians who live in affluent democracies, where the worst it gets is raised eyebrows, cynical comments and a nervous laugh. Yet we fuss, complain, cannot make it to church because we are ‘busy’, ‘depressed’ or otherwise engaged and refuse to win souls.
Whatever God does to those believers, I desperately want Him to do to us here. What is it that makes men so determined to persevere in their faith in the midst of such vigorous opposition and persecution? Undoubtedly they have met God and have a depth of conviction that surpasses what many others who call themselves Christians have. It is vital that we truly believe what we claim to believe or else we are hypocrites, and worse fools. And so I pray that God will give us true converts who are willing to go all the way with Jesus, because they have truly met Him and esteem Him greatly.
We need some good old fashioned courage, some grit. Paul encouraged Timothy to endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ, hardship for them, as for many Christians the world over today, was persecution, beatings, torture, imprisonment and possible death. Hardship for many of us is that we were not allowed to sing in the worship team, or somebody spoke to us sharply, or the Pastor didn’t say hello to us, or our suggestions were turned down, and we are ready to quarrel, fight, gossip and generally tear the people apart, the pew apart, the pastor apart, shake the dust off our feet and …
It is time for us to stop such disgraceful, self centred behaviour and become exceedingly thankful. It is time to open our eyes to the great opportunities that we have, the great freedom that we have, to the grace we are under, to the relatively easy life we have. It is time to make good use of our freedom to openly tell people about Jesus. They may laugh at you, they may talk about you, they may disdain you, but, they may also get saved, and certainly will more and more if we persevere; besides a raised eyebrow never killed anyone, so you’ll survive. If they can do it in Pakistan, we can do it in Europe.