“Jesus Loves Me, This I Know…”

My calm, mundane afternoon became a battleground of emotion after I took a nap. Recently, I have felt a prompting to read a book I received as a graduation gift. This book was anything but a feel-good novel; instead, it was collection of retellings of martyrdoms. Jesus Freaks: Martyrs. I began reading the horrific collection of anecdotes shortly after it was given to me, and I found that tears would well up in my eyes more often than not. I only ever made it halfway through the book.

The words came to life on the pages, and painted me an all-too-real picture of horrendous torture. These courageous, morbid retellings begged an answer from me; would I die for what I believe? I can’t express to you how easy it was for me to say “yes” before opening the cover of this book. But now, a simple “yes,” brought to mind the taste of blood, the crippling feeling of suffocation, and the stench of rotting flesh. Suddenly, it wasn’t so easy to say “yes.” This book was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever experienced. It’s a scary thing to scrutinize your faith so intensely.

Now, I felt that God was calling me to venture into its emotionally treacherous pages once again. Lately, I’ve become miserably bored. But when that boredom would come up, and the thought of the book would be presented, I would always choose a nap over sob-inducing tales of woe.

Today, God had other things in store; these other things began with a dream.

I was hiding. I don’t know from whom, but I knew that they wanted to cause me harm. I thought I had found refuge in the shadow of a barrel. My heart raced. Sweat covered my face. I was face-to-face with terror I had never known before. With a sharp jerk, I was exposed to my pursuers’ judgmental eyes. This large, angry man had my upper arm held in his hand, and his capture was anything but gentle. I could feel his vile, hot breath on my panicked face as he dragged me out into the open. What he handed me was odd, but I didn’t have time to really analyze the oddity with so much adrenaline pumping through my veins. It was a receipt of sorts, with three items recorded. The words were illegible, however. “This is a list of reasons you should be arrested. But we’ll just cut your fingers off instead.” and with that, he pulled out a pocket knife, and wasted no time. He began with my right thumb. At first, I fought back. I used every once of strength I could summon in an attempt to avoid the anticipated pain, but my struggle was short-lived. In believing what I do, I signed up for this. I let it happen. Against all logic, I began to sing. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so…” I saw a blinding light, and felt only a dull pain, and the angry men around me disappeared.

When I woke up, I breathed a sigh of relief as I looked at my hand. Unscathed. But my face was wet. I had been crying– and that was only the beginning. I had been disobedient to God’s prompting on my heart, but this dream couldn’t be ignored like the book under my bed. It took me a few moments of being enveloped by the silence and my reflective thoughts, but once I had processed it all, tears streamed down my face, and I sobbed without any shame for my persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.

It’s disturbing to think about. It makes us feel uncomfortable. It’s easy to avoid, for the time being. We can turn off the television. We can hide it from our newsfeeds. We can turn off our hearts.

While this is something I think we’re all guilty of, it’s abominable.

This is reality. These things happen. I feel almost pretentious in writing about the matter because I know how shielded I am. Or, more specifically, how I’ve shielded myself from it.

The horrific pains our brethren face every day don’t disappear just because we close our eyes and hearts.

So don’t. I’ve found in this life that, when my heart hurts for someone or a group of people, they manifest themselves in my mind. This can be utilized as a tool. Use that pain and empathy to pray for them– not just once, either. Pray for the persecuted every day. If it’s on your mind, you’re also more likely to talk about it. Remind your brothers and sisters around you of the inhumanity people are experiencing because of their faith. Because it’s not always in our faces, it’s easy to forget about. But I beg that we don’t.

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29 thoughts on ““Jesus Loves Me, This I Know…”

  1. I like you because you are a true believer that claims Christ in the difficult and the in pleasant. It’s really refreshing, especially when so many use religion for nefarious acts to boost themselves instead of boosting others through the ‘word’ like your doing. Thank you sincerely, if no one has told you. Thank you for being a encouraging unwavering voice through trying times, even though I haven’t been here long I truly appreciate what you do on this blog. Continue to do God’s work, I believe in your inspiration to better the world one post at a time.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That means so much to me! Thank you so much for your honesty and encouragement. This was certainly something I needed to hear. Thank you so much (:

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Your welcome, I just wanted you to know that I appreciate you and your blog. I read through some (since I’ve been following you for the past week or so :D) posts and your messages instantly make me feel better.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m so glad! That’s really what I take this blog as: an opportunity to share encouragement and thought-provoking, sometimes challenging ideas. I think this post was on a different side of the spectrum– quite the opposite of whimsical– but all-too-necessary. Thanks so much for the support! (:

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s important to remember to pray for the persecuted , which we can sometimes forget with our busy lives. I’m guilty of forgetting. I’ve been watching this NBC movie called “AD The Bible Continues” online (Sundays @8pm C.D.T)…this is a great current reminder

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  3. Whao! You touched a cord there. I have been shielding my self from seeing more like feeling ‘cos it’s been painful for me – man’s inhumanity to man. Brethren been persecuted for their faith. Now I have to tarry in the place of pracer for my fellow heirs of salvation. Thanks for this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Absolutely and thanks for the reminder. Our brothers and sisters in Christ need our prayers, and how much will we need their prayers down the road? The Lord said we will have persecution in this life, and evermore, so it seems , Christians are seen negatively by the world.

    Get ready! Pray up our persecuted brothers and sisters, because it is a guarantee, from Christ himself, we will need their prayers as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sometimes when one allows the impact of the cruelty the world inflicts on Christians to bring us down, I tell myself that Jesus is standing there with open waiting arm’s for each one that chooses Him. Life on earth is but a grain of sand compared to eternity in peace and harmony in Heaven. This doesn’t make the cruelty right or good. So I pray for all our brothers and sisters that have and will stand firm to their faith and belief in Jesus. You are an inspiration and I pray that I will have the courage and faith you displayed to each of us. I pray for myself and all who should ever be put in harms way for our belief and faith in God. I pray for those who persecute that their eyes will be opened. As Jesus said; “forgive them for they know not what they do”. The evil one is present and only God can put him away. The freewill of man is what needs to be challenged. Some will see Him and some are blinded and don’t. At the core of most evil in this world is their love of their belief. If it was true love then we would have no evil.

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  6. This was an excellent post and I enjoyed reading it. It reminded me of something St. Agatha said, as her breast were cut off and she was tortured, thrown into a cell with no food or water, and of course eventually died. Her last words were, “Lord you saved me from the love of the world so I could suffer.”

    None of us truly knows what our answer would be if Christ asked us to lay down our lives for Him. We can only hope we would say, “yes.” Good post and well done! God Bless, SR

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree entirely. That was one of the things that I found most challenging a year ago, when I read that book. We really can only hope we would say “yes.”

      Thank you for the feedback!

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  7. Christ identifies Himself as persecuted when His followers are suffering persecution! I encourage you to dig in His Word for strength to stand even in free country. I picked also a book called Foxes Book of Martyrs and its gripping account of testimonies of what it is really to be a Christian as Paul said “living sacrifice” when death is staring in the face. May God helps us to be true and faithful as to live for Christ as the same to live for others, seeking not our own but the things of others!

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  8. You are blessed with a vivid imagination like me! You feel every cut of a sword in a battle. The bullet burns through your extremities like a hot fire poker slowly and agonizing the bullet becomes embedded in your body! Do you summon the strength to cut it out yourself? Or do you ask for help from your captor? Long bloody day. Keep reading the book, it is good for your soul!
    Jeanette Hall

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  9. Reblogged this on Handicap and commented:
    I also found this to be true, when Jesus puts something in your mind you are probably not going to forget it. He will keep bringing it up until something is done about it. Especially if it’s for others, which is kind of what this guys saying but not in the same words, but I like what he has to say! My thoughts are pretty much in this guys post. The book I need to read more of is the Bible, I need to understand it more than I do. Even though I practice my faith, the Bible makes me strong but it’s also the weakest part of my faith. I know that now, I’ve been kind of just ignoring it but I know what I need to do now. I will get it done. Thank you God for this message!

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