More than two decades ago I went on a missions trip to Mexico with my church. It was a trip that I believe will never be forgotten by those of us who went on it. It was a trip that taught me something that has impacted me all these years, something that leads me to another question that I’ll ask towards the end of this blog.
Like I said, I went on a missions trip to Mexico with my church several years ago. On this particular trip we didn’t go to our usual destination within Mexico, but instead we went to the border town of Tecate, Mexico. We were staying at one of the local churches and were involved in reaching out to the community in different ways. On one particular day we went to the park in the center of town where we sang songs and shared our testimonies of what Jesus had done in our lives to whoever would listen. While we were there we were approached by the authorities to discontinue what we were doing, at which time they excorted us by foot to the local police station. Upon arriving at the police station we were then placed in vehicles and then taken to the border patrol station. After being detained at the border patrol station for several minutes, the Pastor of the church we were staying in came to the station and within minutes had us released.
This experience showed me something that has since stuck with me. While I can’t really speak on behalf of the others in our group, what I can say is for the first few minutes I had some pretty big butterflies in my stomach, but they didn’t last long. While we were walking to the police station some of us started talking about the privilage of going to a Mexican jail for the Gospel. Now, whether or not we would have ended up there only God knows, but we believed that was a very real possibility for which we felt honored as Christians to endure. Though we didn’t know the particulars of the arrest we still knew God was in charge and that it would be an honor to suffer for His sake.
Even though some of us during this experience considered it a great honor for the Gospel, it was evident that others in our group did not share those same sentiments. I remember hearing how some were talking with such emotion, words and comments that we would’ve never imagined these people of saying, and that disturbed us. Some of these people were just our peers, but some were leaders and we couldn’t believe what we were hearing and seeing from them.
While we were going through this I was reminded of a scripture where Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. Now, it isn’t for me to judge the heart of any of these individuals, but this experience taught me that we never really know what is in someone until we see them in very tough and trying situations. I’m reminded of the Apostle Peter who, after strongly telling Jesus that he would never leave or deny Him, denied Jesus three times in just a few hours time. Jesus reached out to Peter despite this and Peter would never again deny Him, but this too is an example of not knowing how we will respond to a situation until we are actually in it. We would like to believe and think the best regarding our responses in such times, but it’s hard to be so certain of them.
What triggered my thoughts today on this subject was a question that came to my mind regarding the times that we are living in and are heading into. We’re living in a time when Christians are being viewed more and more with disdain, and it is no secret that there have been attempts by the powers that be to label Christians as extremists that jeopardize any attempts of global or domestic peace and unity. We also know that according to Bible prophesy there is coming a time, though it is already being seen in other countries in varying degrees, that Christians will be arrested and killed for the sake of Jesus and the gospel. So, with that I want to conclude by simply asking you a question for you to consider.
If you were arrested for being a Christian with the real possibility of execution for your faith, would you consider it both an honor and a privilage, or would you hate to be in that situation and try to get out of it? Just something to think about.
John Johansson – www.resoundingshophar.com