Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 13, 2017

A Lifeline of Support

“God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:9 (NLT)
 

My husband and I spent the first eleven years of our marriage ministering to students of all ages (in addition to ministering separately for years before our marriage). Those years included a multitude of summer camps and overnight retreats. Watching students surrender their lives to Christ, seeing the hope and love that now consumed them, brought us the greatest joy.

One particular student stands out in my memory. Jeremy grew up in a home that required perfection in everything—school, housework, extracurricular activities, and behavior. He was knotted up with stress over completely unattainable expectations. A few days into camp, God began to break through his feelings of worthlessness, rejection, and hopelessness. Jeremy’s eyes were opened to God’s grace and mercy, causing him to give his heart and will to Christ and receive salvation and hope. We rejoiced with Jeremy, welcoming him into the family of God and showing him how to follow God in his daily life.

Then Jeremy went home. His parents were not happy with this new Jeremy. They rejected his news of new life in Christ. Their unattainable expectations became a noose around Jeremy’s newfound faith. His parents, acting out of fear of this unknown faith that gripped their son, lashed out in ridicule and taunts. Jeremy sought refuge in the church, but his parents even limited the time he spent there.

Our student ministry supported Jeremy in every way that we could, walking with him through this persecution from his own family. It would take 25 years of perseverance in the face of ridicule and taunts, as well as a commitment to honor his parents no matter what, for his parents to begin to respect Jeremy’s faith. Doors began to open for Jeremy to share the gospel with those he loved so selflessly.

Persecution is not limited to Jeremy’s. Believers lose their lives in countries around the world. Followers of Christ lose jobs, homes, and families to those opposed to the gospel. Who can we reach out to today in support as they face such persecution? Let’s not become so isolated in our own circumstances that we don’t ask God to use us as a lifeline for those who are suffering.

“Open our eyes, Lord, to the suffering of fellow believers so that we may support and bless them in their persecution.”

 

For His Glory

Tammy Randlett (http://staletoast.com)
TRBC Women’s Life

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