“Moreover let us give thanks to the Lord our God, which trieth us, even as he did our fathers. Remember what things he did to Abraham, and how he tried Isaac, and what happened to Jacob in Mesopotamia of Syria, when he kept the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother. For he hath not tried us in the fire, as he did them, for the examination of their hearts, neither hath he taken vengeance on us: but the Lord doth scourge them that come near unto him, to admonish them.” (Reference: Judith 8:25-27 )
Maybe I shouldn’t write today because I am losing patience with persecution! It is not just that it is a “downer” (which it is) or that it reminds me of how tough my life is sometimes (which it does) or that I feel like I have run out of things to say (which I feel like I have) – but there is only so much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that one can do before you say enough! Not that I am saying the historic Anabaptists should have recanted their faith en mass – far from it! It’s just that faith beliefs can only mature so far when they are constantly being questioned and punished.
In a way it is an interesting study of how people react when their faith beliefs are being persecuted. One thing that is readily apparent is that scripture passages get refocused to highlight the persecution experience and to find justification that the persecution is acknowledge and affirmation of faith. But I have to wonder if the point was not reached that the persecution itself became the symbol of faith – one would not be persecuted if one did not exhibit faith – rather than the actual lived out level of devotion to God. So you have “I am faithful to God because I withstand persecution and am willing to do for my faith.” Because sometimes, beloved, it takes more courage to live out a lifetime of faith than to do for it after a few scant months or a year.
Or, maybe I am just tired of trying to find new ways to talk about centuries’ old persecution.
May you beloved live out a lifetime of faith one peaceful day at a time. Selah!