Thursday, October 13, 2016

the privilege of martyrdom

Lewis talks about martyrdom today in A Year with C.S. Lewis.

And it's hard to believe that people are being martyred today in 2016, isn't it? It's also difficult to comprehend that there have been more martyrs in the last 100 years than in the 1900 years that preceded it. Martyrdom seems like something that happened in ancient, Roman times, with lions and coliseums and gladiators. But more people have died for Jesus in recent times than in Rome.

Dying for our faith is of course a powerful and amazing thing. But, like suffering, it's not something we should go looking for. The line between martyrdom and suicide is found in my favorite Bible verse: "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

Suicide is when we give up on our lives, give in to despair, and try to escape from our pain. And my heart goes out to those whose lives are so horrible that they choose this end.

Martyrdom is the opposite. It's when we love our lives, and find great joy in the fantastic blessings He's given us. But we see dying as gain - we know that as great as this life is, being with Him in the next life is even better. So much better, it's not even a comparison.

So when suffering comes our way, and if martyrdom ever presents itself as a possibility, we have the assurance that we will find His sufficient grace to see us through it... and into eternal life with Him in His amazing Kingdom.

Until then we pray... even so, come quickly, Lord.

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