Today my heart was filled with joy as I worshiped the Lord in the seminary’s Chapel service. Worship was particularly engaging today, specifically because I had the opportunity to listen to a Chinese student pour his heart out in public prayer. I also had the opportunity to witness a choir of Indian students performing special music in their native tongue. The whole scene brought a wide smile to my face as gratefulness filled my heart as we all worshiped the same Lord together.
Then a horrid thought arrested my mind that brought me to tears: “How many of these students will be dead once they leave this seminary?”
It is a morbid question, but in our modern world it is a very real one. That Chinese student will graduate from the seminary and return to a church that is hidden underground because of the persecution of the Chinese government. Many of those Indian students will return to India, under a hostile, Hindu government, and will be prohibited from proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ for fear of death. Many of the Nigerian students on campus will return to their home country only to be met by the brutality of Boko Haram, the radical Islamist group. I can’t help but wonder how many of these students, my peers and friends, will wind up dead in their home countries because of their faith.
The thought is sobering but it is also challenging. I couldn’t help but cry at this thought because their faith has reminded me that North American Christians have become so lax in practical Christianity. These students are in seminary in order to return to a country where they will be met with hostility, even death, and North American Christians are concerned about styles of music in the service. They are gladly preparing to suffer for the gospel of Jesus Christ while North American Christians are worried about something the pastor happened to say last Sunday morning in the message.
North American Church friends, we need to wake up. We need to get over ourselves and our minor discomforts. We need to realize that the gospel of Christ bids us to come and die because he is worth it. Do we believe that Christ is our Lord who demands our allegiance? or is Jesus just a magic genie who gives us what we want? Do we really have a faith in Christ that would lead us to die? Do we have that true faith in Christ that leads us to pick up our crosses and follow him (Luke 9:23)?
Church, if we don’t believe in this Lord and have this sort of faith, we have some real reconsidering to do.