In my cozy Christian bubble, I enjoy sitting and drinking coffee with my Bible and highlighter in hand, surrounded in my climate-controlled home with blankets, snacks, and searching for the truth in easy-to-read stories with gems of wisdom sprinkled throughout. The Bible is full of stories of missionaries, miracles, ministry, grace, and redemption. But how is that applicable now? The world is a crazy place, but nothing too bad is happening. Right?
After I close my Bible and step out of that bubble, I’m surrounded by horrific news stories. Babies being murdered, children being trafficked, women being raped, men giving up on their families – it all seems so hopeless. But no matter how drained I feel, I’m quickly reminded that our suffering in the U.S. doesn’t come close to those serving Christ overseas.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11:25-28, “Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.”
And quickly, I’m put into my place. The gospel should never become a trendy Instagram post. Instead, it should drive us and grant us a deeper desire to love and seek Jesus more, no matter the cost.
As I read passages like these, I’m convicted, weak, and nauseated. What was the worst thing I’ve endured for Christ? A door shut in my face? Being rejected when asked if I could pray?
The truth of the gospel is that it never was intended to be safe. It’s alive and roaring. But with this transforming power comes a great responsibility to rely on the strength only He can give.
Many missionaries have gone before us and risked it all for the cause of Christ. A few of them we are familiar with, Jim Elliot, Hudson Taylor, Gladys Aylward, or Adoniram Judson. Each of these believers risked their health, family, and safety for the gospel.
But in this age, believers and missionaries alike are still being persecuted daily.
If you were to take five seconds and Google “Missionaries that have passed away” you wouldn’t just find those famous names listed. You would find articles listing missionaries killed in Iraq, Bible translators shot dead in Cameroon, or young men risking their lives to reach unreached people groups – all within the last month.
I’m not sure when it became hip to be a Christian and post Bible journal entries. I’m not sure when we stopped noticing those suffering overseas, but cry when our power goes out. And I’m unsure how long it’s going to take for His people to turn back to Him and minister to the hurting. But I do know, my God is in control.
This week, Engage is teaming up with Global Outreach International for this year's Orange Letter Campaign. We're gathering and sending letters from you to missionaries all around the world. We ask that you prayerfully type out a letter and submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.