I'm not sure why I was restless. Of course, it could have been the fact that one minute I was freezing and the next, sweating and uncomfortable. (call it middle age if you must)...but it was also, I think, due to the book I was reading. I'm reading a book written by a lady who grew up through at least three regimes in her homeland...Because she is a Christian, she faced unimaginable suffering there at the hands of two atheistic governments. She was imprisoned for over twenty years, many of those years spent in hard labor under horrific conditions. She faced torture, fear and the constant worry for her aging parents who were also Christians, had been imprisoned and had lost everything, including their health, for their faith.
Obviously, to read such a book, would probably disturb anyone...and maybe for differing reasons...but last night, I was asking myself the question again: "If it happens here, will I stand firm?" Now, taken at face value, the answer I must give is "yes"...but if push came to shove and I faced torture and the possible murders or arrest of my family and incredible starvation and poverty, what would be my response? I truly believe that I would never deny my Lord Jesus...I certainly have suffered just through physical and mental ailments and have not turned my back on him for the past 21 years...but the more disturbing question to me was, "What would be my attitude toward those who mistreated me?"
This lady initially hated her jailers and the other inmates who were so cruel to her, but gradually, as the Lord emptied her of all selfishness and resentment; he then filled her with his love for these people. I would have to trust that he would do the same for me...not a fun process I guess, but when I read her words now, I can see what a great work the Lord has done in her life. Her words glow with praise to her Father in Heaven and with love toward all those she encounters.
To top off my sleepless night, this morning I was reading Proverbs 28.... The whole chapter speaks of corrupt governments, moral decay in countries, abuse and mistreatment of the poor and on and on. It was like God was reiterating the things he had been showing me through this book. I particularly like the first verse of that chapter:
But the godly are as bold as lions."
Truly the first century Christians had the bravery of lions as they often FACED lions quite literally. I think that this verse must have comforted them in those moments. I'm so glad that I have so much of God's Word memorized; for if there comes a time when it is wrested from my hands...God will still be able to use it to speak to my heart, because it is there that His Word resides.