But- before I go any further- let me share a story from a book entitled Tortured for Christ- a novel that tells the story of Christians in Romania living behind the Iron Curtain.
“One of our workers in the Underground Church was a young girl. The Communist police discovered that she secretly spread Gospels and taught children about Christ. The decided to arrest her. But to make the arrest as agonizing and painful as they could, they decided to delay her arrest a few weeks, until the day she was to be married. On her wedding day, the girl was dressed as a bride -- the most wonderful, joyful day of a girl’s life! Suddenly, the door burst open and the secret police rushed in.
When the bride saw the secret police, she held out her arms toward them to be handcuffed. They roughly put the manacles on her wrists. She looked toward her beloved, then kissed the chains and said, “I thank my heavenly Bridegroom for this jewel He presented to me on my marriage day. I thank Him that I am worthy to suffer for Him.” She was dragged off, with weeping Christians and a keeping bridegroom left behind. They knew what happens to young Christian girls in the hands of Communist guards. Her bridegroom faithfully waited for her. After five years she was released, a destroyed, broken woman looking thirty years older. She said it was the least she could do for her Christ.”
(Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ pg. 37 & 38)
Wow. Wow. That's all that could go through my mind. I know that she (the unnamed bride) had been waiting for her wedding day her whole life probably. She had wishes...and dreams. And yet, she was willing to give them up- or at least delay them- for the call of Christ. She didn't argue with the police. She didn't say "Wait- can I just finish my wedding?" She allowed them to take her and only said, “I thank my heavenly Bridegroom for this jewel [the hancuffs] He presented to me on my marriage day. I thank Him that I am worthy to suffer for Him.” She was able to thank God in the midst of a not ideal situation. I have to wonder sometimes about what I would have done if I was in her situation. I mean, I have all these plans already, and I'm not anywhere close to being engaged even. Imagine going through with all of the planning, all the hoping, all the anticipation, and then to have it taken away from you in an instant. She put God in front of her own dreams and desires. She knew what was worth more.
I live in America. At the moment, it's a fairly confortable nation. I also am blessed to live in a financially stable family where I never have to worry about food being on the table or having a warm bed to sleep in at night. I have the freedom to worship God, to go to church, and to tell others about God without fear of being persecuted. I don't have the thought running through my head during church, "I wonder if the Secret Police will raid the church tonight? I wonder if I will be able to escape, to run fast enough, or if I will end up in jail or be killed?". This freedom is a blessing. I am so thankful for it. Hey, I even live in a small town in the Bible Belt. There's a church on every street corner and church fliers posted in the newspaper. But, sometimes I wonder if it would be better- if my faith would be stronger- if it wasn't as easy. If I had to try a little harder, if it cost me something. I mean, right now, what do I have to lose? I can plan my wedding- and not be concerned about it being crashed by people trying to arrest me. What's my faith worth? Anything? Something? Nothing? What's your faith worth? I think one of the strongest points in my faith was in Auburn when I had a friend I sat next to in class that was very anti-Christian. Anything Christians agreed with- she would disagree with. And yet, she asked me some of the toughest questions about Christianity. I didn't know all the answers. But I was willing to try and find it out. She made me want to fight for my faith- to figure out why I believed what I believed. I got closer to finding out what my faith was worth. It made it worth something to me.
So...what's it worth?