“You must never forget those past days when you had received the light and went through such a great and painful struggle. It was partly because everyone’s eye was on you as you endured harsh words and hard experiences, partly because you threw in your lot with those who suffered much the same. You [sympathized] with those who were put in prison and you were cheerful when your own goods were confiscated, for you knew that you had a much more solid and lasting treasure in Heaven. ” (Hebrews 10:32-36 Phillips)
Sometimes, when I think about those God ordained days I weep as I consider the weakness of my mind. I think about those moments I would rise in the middle of the night, nearly overcome with the consuming thought of what people must be saying and thinking about me? what must Renee be enduring? what will become of Silas? what will become of the Thompson name? how is my church doing during these days?
I think about those moments at night when I would make way to the bathroom in near complete darkness stepping around and over other inmates and be consumed with the reality that the Lord’s faithful around the world endure much worse than even this.
Nothing, in what I have come to call – my American Christian experience – had prepared me for this. I was, in many respects, learning how to deal with this experience without any practical preparation.
I would find a sliver of light through an outside source and open that lamp of Scripture to preach to my weaning heart (that selfish, praise-of-men craving heart) and became immediately aware that I had adopted an unbiblical belief of how strange it is that this was happening (1 Peter 4:12-13).
When I consider those God ordained days, I consider them with joy, and it does not seem strange at all to look at them as such.
“…do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing,
as though some strange thing were happening to you…”
1 Peter 4:12 (NASB)