Lest we think our lives are hard, lest we doubt the grace and power of God...
Here's an excerpt from Brother Yun, on trail in China for "opposing the government" for preaching the gospel. The time is the early 80's, and Yun is in prison and now facing a judge.
The judge fell into a furious rage. His eyes bulged as he banged the bench and pointed at me. "I order you to kneel down before me and repeat the prayer you said on the tape."
Several guards with batons came and beat my legs to make me kneel down. They screamed, "Kneel down! Kneel down!"
At that moment, the power of the Lord filled me (RH: sounds like Mathew 10 stuff.) A voice spoke to my heart. "Dont be afraid! Be srong in the Lord. Even if ten thousand enemies surround you, rest in Jesus. Be bold and courageous in the Lord!"
As the guards continued to beat and kick me, I suddenly shouted at the judge in a louds voice, "By what authority do you order a servant of God to knew down before you? You have no right! Your questions are unreasonable. Now, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth I command all of you to kneel down. I will lay hands on you and ask the Lord to forgive your sins."
They didn't kneel, and Brother Yun knew his struggle with the courts would be a long one. He writes, "They had used the most barbarous tortures their minds could invent, but had not been able to make me say a single incriminating word (to confess his crimes.)"
But miraculously, Yun was only sentenced to 4 years in prison, hard labor. Not life or death as he was told.
Brother Yun's story is full of heart breaking tales of hunger, torture, seeing his wife and children suffer. Even his mother suffered for Yun's "crimes." His only crime was preaching Jesus. But yet, let me say. Brother Yun saw and experience many divine things and miracles. Fasted 74 days without food or water. Revival in the prison camps. Healings and demonic deliverances. The book of Acts.
In 1989, I visited Toledo, Spain and one of the ancient churches had chains and shackles nailed to the outside wall. It was a visual reminder to the early Christians to remember to pray for the brothers and sisters in Christ who were in chains, suffering for Christ name.
In our American world, we bark about this liberty or that, but in reality, we have all liberties. People may not like us, but we pray when we want, talk about Jesus when we want, and freely move about the nation. I haven't heard of anyone being beaten and told to bow before a court office and pray a prayer of worship.
I'm so thankful to the Lord for our liberties. Oh, please, may they remain. But if you have the heart, please pray with me for the Lord to continue to give grace to our brothers and sisters in chains. And to work might miracles on their behalf.
Paul wrotes to the Colossians, "Here is my greeting in my own handwriting--PAUL. Remember my chains. May the grace of God be with you."