Speaking of people who lived by strong faith, the author of Hebrews says:
Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— (Heb 11:36b-37)
Of course, that was back in the old Bible days, right? What challenges do we face today that test our faith? Well, last week, 20 churches were burned to the ground. Homes were ransacked and torched. People were beaten and a few were killed. Why? They were Christians living in Egypt. In some areas of Egypt, Christians are living as prisoners in their homes, afraid to go outside, even to get food. Most of us cannot imagine what these people are dealing with, much less really know how we would respond if we were in their shoes. They are facing a stark challenge to their faith. What they choose to do, in response to these attacks, will show what they believe. The world urges us to fight back, to get even, take revenge. Jesus taught:
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… (Matthew 5:44)
Sadly, the situation in Egypt is hardly unique. Levels of Christian persecution are higher than they ever have been. This faith business is dangerous business. Would you join me in praying for these brothers and sisters, asking God to strengthen their faith?