Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Blessed To Suffer For Christ

My time spent in China earlier this year was an amazing time of spiritual discovery for me. My eyes were further opened, and my heart drawn ever closer to my heavenly Father.
My understanding of God and of Christianity has changed in a fundamental way, and has resulted in a profound faith that is set in concrete.

Recently I was given the opportunity to send a letter to the man in China that particularly impacted me. Being a Pastor of the underground church in China, he is living on the run, at perennial risk of being arrested for merely refusing to join the church controlled by the Government. Such persecution gives one a different perspective on what true Christianity is, the kind that was experienced by the Apostolic fathers.

Below is the letter that I wrote to him (he uses a pseudonym). It is a letter that seemed to come directly from my spirit, mostly unaltered by the usual subconscious cogitations of my brain.

Hello Daniel,
My name is Timothy, I was part of a group that delivered Bibles to you earlier this year.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some thoughts following my experience of Christianity in China and also my own personal walk with Jehovah. It is amazing how God orchestrated my trip to China and the lessons that I learned from it to coincide with what God was teaching me in life in general. I feel extraordinarily blessed.

God has really been challenging me on my perspective of pain and suffering, specifically how He uses pain to chastise and correct us in order to draw us closer to His heart. This understanding has led me to a profound understanding of God, and to also possess a relationship with Him built on solid rock.
I have come to not just appreciate pain in my life, but also desire it, because it draws me irresistibly toward God, it purifies me, and casts out sin. In my most profound moments with God I plead with Him to chastise me more, to teach me His wondrous ways, to draw me closer to Him.
Pain is no longer ‘suffering’ to me, for I now know more than anything else it brings me closer to my Saviour. How can I hate pain when I know God is treating me as His beloved child? I could never rebuke God for the pain that I experience, like an ungrateful servant. Rather I am filled with joy that my Father would love me enough to correct and lead me through causing me pain.
The words of Hebrews 12:1-13 echoes through my mind as I write this.

But I am fully aware that as an average Westerner the pain that I experience is of a lesser degree than the persecution that Christians such as yourself experience in China. Some people here in Australia, who may suffer more than I, would find what I have written above to be offensive to their faith. They seem to be slaves to suffering, and bemoan what they feel is the debilitating effect of pain that 'Satan' has in their lives. They say they would much rather believe in an impotent God than one who is omnipotent which causes suffering. I have 'no right to say that God causes suffering' because I have not suffered as they have, they accuse.

I suppose that is why I am writing all this to you. As a man that has experienced and witnessed suffering and persecution greater than the people in my county, do you also not "take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions" (2 Cor 12:10)? Or is this understanding little more than the mere ignorant fantasy of well-off and sheltered Westerner?
I ask you all this because you seem to be a man of God more than any other that I have seen, and whose countrymen have experienced persecutions similar to that which our Apostolic mentors first experienced. Such persecution we in the West have been sheltered from for a long time.
How do you understand the persecution which you experience for Christ's name?

I do not necessarily request a response from you. I think God simply wanted me to process these thoughts, which writing them down helps achieve. But maybe you will get something profitable from what I have written as well.

God bless you Daniel. May our Glorious Father bless you and the work that He is doing through you. I am continuously encouraged by the great work that you do in God's great country of China. He is truly developing a mighty and righteous people to inherit the riches that this current wicked generation is building in opposition to Him. The crumbling gates of wickedness can never prevail over the advancement of God's church in China!



The Words below came to me when I placed the photos in my Bible that I received from you during our meeting. I had a feeling that the position where I placed the photos in my Bible would be in a propitious spot, and when I took the photos out I read the chapter which was open, chapter 10 of Isaiah. The words spoke to me as being God's Word to the Chinese Church. The message that I got from that chapter was that God's judgment on your oppressors will be delayed no longer. The haughty intentions of the Communist party have not escaped God's eyes, a people who have dared to consider themselves as gods above the one true God.

Isaiah 10:1-2
"Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees,
and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;
To turn aside the needy from judgment,
and to take away the right from the poor of my people,
that widows may be their prey,
and that they may rob the fatherless!"

Isaiah 10:12-16
"I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria,
and the glory of his high looks.
For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it,
and by my wisdom; for I am prudent:
and I have removed the bounds of the people,
and have robbed their treasures,
and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man:
And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people:
and as one gathereth eggs that are left,
have I gathered all the earth;
and there was none that moved the wing,
or opened the mouth, or peeped.
Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith?
or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it?
as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up,
or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.
Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts,
send among his fat ones leanness;
and under his glory he shall kindle a burning
like the burning of a fire."

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