Friday, January 27, 2012

To Hide My Faith, or to Walk in Christ?

Would you consider hiding your faith
if it meant the difference between persecution Or safety?
Rarely do we Americans consider the harm we could face
simply for announcing our faith in God, and belief in Christ.
We may recall the stories of martyrs in the bible,
those who believed in Christ and died for their faith.
Some of us may even know of the work done to promote Christ
in countries where it is illegal to publicly follow Him,
There are stories of imprisonment in China,
stoning and beheading in the middle east,
and some where people just... disappeared, like in Russia.

You can read more of these stories in the book Tortured for Christ,
available for Free through Voice of the Martyrs website.

So, if you are not familiar with my story, I went to prison in 2007
for a drunk driving accident where I injured two people.
You can read more about it Here, and Here.

In the months leading up to my incarceration
I had wonderful people to support me.
One such was a counselor with whom my wife and I met
to prepare us for the eventual time apart.
In our meetings, I agreed to meet with an ex-con
who had served seven years, and was now thriving.
The idea of our coming talk gave me hope,
that his instruction would prove uplifting and informative.
Nothing could have been farther from the truth.

He told me about the world I would be entering,
that I should pray daily for God’s protection,
and then he told me something I was unprepared for,
that I should hide my faith in Christ.

His reasons were threefold:
1) that “believers” seemed weak - unable to stand on their own,
and that I would be “preyed-upon” by others.
2) that I would be ostracized, left alone and
unable to find anyone ‘friendly’ to me.
3) that I would be considered as “hiding” from my crimes,
incapable of facing reality, and running to a make-believe God
who supposedly forgives my sins when no one else does.

So on the day I first entered prison with low hopes,
my cell-mate validated these fears.
His words were something like this:
‘Dont believe that God will save you
unless He shows up to stand between you
for protection from other prisoners and guards.”
He detailed accounts of beatings, and
supported these with stories of becoming a ‘mule’,
a ‘bank-account’ providing financial for whole groups
both inside and outside of prison,
or the persecution of being beaten and raped by gangs.

So I prayed, and walked ‘the yard’ in faith
each day knowing what could come
but believing in God to protect and provide.
Do you know what came as a result?
Greater faith.
Because He provided what I alone could not.
Even while witnessing the worst for other inmates-
I was left alone, and sometimes even “spoken-for”
by those around me who heard my story.

Can God protect You in any situation?
But it won’t be easy.

Will you have enough faith to believe,
then to take one-step forward to know God’s reward?
And witness the beauty of His provision!

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