I am not a squeamish man. I don’t faint at the sight of blood, and except for that one time when I had bad chicken wings, I don’t throw up on the regular. Although certain odors nauseate me, that’s usually the worst of it, and it needs to be something truly hideous. We’ve all smelled those smells before, the ones we remember for the rest of our lives, so you likely know what I am talking about.
That said, there are a few things I am not looking forward to if the Lord tarries and I am still here. One would be my first colonoscopy, which doctors recommend you start planning four around 45, and the other is having the talk with my girls when they are of age. One of these things I can simply ignore. The other I cannot because my girls need to be equipped with the requisite knowledge to brave this twisted world.
I used to wonder how dads scraped up the courage to have certain talks with their daughters, but now I’m staring down that particular barrel, knowing it’s only a matter of time, and I am not looking forward to it. Not at all. If given a choice, I think I’d rather pick the colonoscopy.
One thing I never gave much thought to, however, is how I would endure persecution, whether physical or psychological if God’s purpose required it. Why? Is it because I’m so hyper-spiritual that I eat torture for breakfast? Is it because I am a fine-tuned machine that can withstand everything from sleep deprivation, starvation, privation, cold, and all manner of things known to have been done to believers throughout the world? Hardly.
I hate pain. Every time I stump my toe on a piece of furniture my wife decided to rearrange for whatever reason, I get teary-eyed. I won’t even bore you with the fun and giggles to be had when I get a gout attack, which, thankfully, hasn’t been the case for several years now.
The reason I don’t give it much thought is twofold. First, worrying in and of itself is a fruitless endeavor that does nothing to affect the circumstance you are fixating on. Second, because I know that when I am weak, He is strong.
We tend to believe that those who have suffered persecution, those who have endured, those who’ve had cruelties visited upon them, the likes of which would give politicians nightmares, are somehow more than. We see them as superior to ourselves, even superhuman, thinking they survived by their strength and mental fortitude.
I assure you it was not. There are limits to what the human body can endure. There are limits to what the human mind can process before it’s broken. Most, if not all, who’ve had to wallow in damp dungeons surrounded by their own filth only to be let out long enough to get some ribs cracked or teeth knocked loose went far beyond what the body and mind can endure.
Some endured to the point that it baffled their torturers, making them consider the depth of faith and commitment required to suffer so and not relent. To the last, such individuals were sustained by someone other than themselves. It was not in their strength that they stood; it was in His strength.
He, not I. That is why I do not fear persecution. He, not I. That is why I do not fear a cold dungeon, a hot iron, or a hard fist. I know that He will sustain me.
Will I be tempted to waver? All men are, and you will too, but it is within you to endure temptation, knowing that once you have been approved, you will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed that we’ve been tackling some heady topics, but we’re headed into some heady times, and being equipped, and possessing knowledge, will go a long way to keeping you at peace.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.