“Ye that fear the Lord, wait for his mercy; and go not aside, lest ye fall. Ye that fear the Lord, believe him; and your reward shall not fail. Ye that fear the Lord, hope for good, and for everlasting joy and mercy. Look at the generations of old, and see; did ever any trust in the Lord, and was confounded? or did any abide in his fear, and was forsaken? or whom did he ever despise, that called upon him? For the Lord is full of compassion and mercy, longsuffering, and very pitiful, and forgiveth sins, and saveth in time of affliction.” (Reference: Sirach 2:7-11 )
Consider an ordinary man (or woman) who has no experience in religion theology, or philosophy. A simple person who lives today to today farming the land, or plying a simple trade. This person knows little beyond the borders of the city he or she was born in. A simple person living a basic life.
And suddenly this person has to defend his or her beliefs, and must do that after undergoing torture and physical deprivation. If such a person could withstand such torture, persecution and questioning with his or her faith intact and able to confound and silence his/her accuser – would that not be a miracle?
Jan Gerrits, in the early 1560’s was imprisoned and tortured at the Hague. He relates one incident where he was questioned severely. “While I thus spoke and they were getting ready to torture me, I felt neither fear nor apprehension; however, they handled me in a very severe and fierce manner, so that the president said: “Why will you not tell the truth?” Ans. “Because Christ spoke nothing but what tended to the glory of His Father, and what concerned His own divinity: about all other things He was silent. And I want to do the same; wherever His honor and the doctrine of His commandments are concerned, I do not want to be silent either before emperor, or king, or duke, or count.” Instantly the order was: “Handle him without gloves: a drowned calf is a small risk.” Behold, my dear brethren and sisters, how unmercifully they treated me. Nevertheless, the Lord was with me, blessed be His holy name; I had no control of myself, but the Lord directed my mouth, so that they could obtain nothing according to their will. See, my dear friends,how faithful the Lord is; him that trusts in Him He does not suffer to be confounded. Sir. 2:10.”
Could you or I, beloved, have done as well after imprisonment and physical torture? I do not know. I pray that we may never have to find out. The historic Anabaptists felt they were in service to God, and that God upheld that every moment so that they could bring glory and honor to God’s name. May we do as well beloved. Selah!