I remember as a kid thinking I would never get to the point of marriage, having children or seeing them through school- surely the Lord would return before all of that. I didn't have a terrible feeling of loss in those thoughts, just fairly confident it was a very imminent event.
Here I am 25 years later, and almost all has occurred. (Except the "through school" part. O. however, will be a junior in high school this year. Not much longer!)
All this brings me to thinking about what may yet happen before the sweet return of my Lord. What will the future bring? In our preparations as a family to minister in Zambia, I think of the possible dangers a place like Africa holds. God is so gracious, but what will be allowed? I think of the Persecuted Church that manages to thrive in closed countries. The many who meet in China, or in closed up homes in so many Islamic nations. What are they enduring before the return of Christ? 2Ti 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: Powerful passage of scripture.
I then think of our own nation. We are sinking lower and lower and so many don't even see the steady decline. What will we face here, on American soil? We are discouraged to pray Jesus name. Pastors are being threatened of jail for preaching against homosexuality. Pornography is rampant among men and youth, church goers are some of the worst offenders. Surely some would see this as suffering? I think not! This is a state of moral bankruptcy and social apathy. When parent can forget their child in a hot car to die a cruel and painful death, mothers leave them in the care of known pedefiles and CPS says they have the right to do it. How do I prepare my children to grow up in a society where occurances like this are becoming commonplace.
Martyrs. I have to prepare them for that.
We are facing a day in the not so distant future where we will have to agree with the government (or those that are in power!), or face the consequences many of our forefathers of the faith have faced. There will be a choice to make between following Christ, or watching horrible things happen. Foxes book of Martyrs does a fine job telling all of the details, I need not go into it here. But just think, will my child stay strong and not deny Christ in the face of my death? Will I be able to stand firm on my trust and faith if "they" are going to shoot (or Worse!) my children or husband unless I denounce it? God help me to strengthen my faith every day. I think, "how much Bible would I have in my head if they were all confiscated and burned? " Could I survive spiritually on what I have put to memory?
In reading the book "Tortured for Christ", so many thoughts that I would never really entertain begin swirling in my brain. If the Lord tarries, what will we face? How long do we have to live in freedom? I pray I can live every day looking for that Glorious Appearing, and at the same time effectively run the course that is set before me.