Did you eat any breakfast? Maybe go to the gym? Hug your children? Go to work? Shoot some basketball? Take a walk?
What did you do?
Whatever you did, however, I assume you probably didn’t think you would have to die today for the glory of God. No one ever wakes up, looks at their to-do list and says,
“Ah yes, I have a conference call at 8:00 a.m. with a client. Lunch with the guys at noon. Hmm…looks like I’m going to be martyred at 4:00 p.m. today. What a great day!”
Occasionally, God’s plan differs from the plan we’re preparing for. Take suffering, for example. There are times when suffering is God’s plan and it is non-optional. It is His sovereign plan for your life. It will happen.
And sometimes that suffering leads to death.
The apostle Peter had to experience that for himself, and Jesus was the One who told him about it. It says in John 21:18-19 that Jesus said to Peter,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “ Follow Me!”
Did you catch that? We will declare the glory of God even in our death!
Ultimately, there are times in life when you have to exit the place of refuge in order to glorify the Lord.
Such was the case concerning the bravery of a young girl during China’s Boxer Rebellion of 1900. This story reminds me of how important remaining faithful to the Lord really is—even in the face of certain death!
When The Choice Is To Deny The Lord Or Die
During China’s Boxer Rebellion of 1900, nearly one hundred students barricaded themselves inside a mission station. Every gate was blocked, except for one.
The insurgents placed a wooden cross on the ground in front of that lone open gate. The students were told that if any of them came out and trampled the cross beneath their feet that they would be granted—not only their freedom—but their lives as well. Any who refused to do so, however, would be immediately shot and killed.
Question: What would you have done?
Slowly, a handful of terrified students walked through the gate and trampled the cross beneath their feet. True to their word, the insurgents allowed those students to walk away unharmed.
Another girl soon followed but, instead of trampling the cross, she knelt before it in prayer, petitioning her Lord for strength in the midst of certain death. Having renewed her trust in the Savior, she stood up, made her way around the cross and walked toward the firing squad where she met her end.
Emboldened by her example of faith in the Savior, each of the remaining students made their way out through the gate, around the cross, and into the hands of the firing squad where every one of them forfeited their lives for the glory of God.
I was reminded that there are times when it hurts to be a worshipper of the true God.
Being faithful to Christ may cost you your life in the end, but every one of us must pass through the gate and decide whom we will serve: Jehovah, or the god of self-preservation.
Question for commenting below: Do you think God would rather have us die a slow and painful death, rather than deny Him before others? Why or why not?
* Image credit: Marcus Williamson (Creation Swap)