Many of my friends, and anyone in my family, can attest to the fact that I am a cry-baby. I prefer to say that my heart is easily touched, because it sounds better, but the truth is, it’s not hard to make me cry. In fact, all you really have to do to make me cry is talk about “the Nations,” and I’m a goner. So the reading I’ve been doing for school has been pretty rough on me the last week or so. First, I’ve been reading a book for Missiology called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. It sounds pretty dry, and some of the readings are, but others are so full of passion and tenderness for the lost people of the world that I can’t help being moved. Second, I just finished a Faithful Witness: the Life and Mission of William Carey. Carey is the father of Baptist Missions, and the story of his struggle and success in India should be known to every believer. Third, I’m in the middle of reading Let the Nations Be Glad! by John Piper, which every believer really must read. The section on suffering… it was crushing. Let me give you an example of one true story that broke my heart.
An African man named Joseph heard the Gospel on a dusty road one day, and was so filled with joy and excitement that he couldn’t wait to share his newfound Savior with his own village. When he did, he was shocked to discover that they did not share his excitement; in fact, the men of the village held him down while the women beat him with barbed wire, then dragged him out into the bush to die. Somehow he survived, and days later came back to the village and pleaded with his kinsmen to come to the crucified and risen Christ. Again they beat him, and left him for dead. By a miracle of God, he survived this beating too, and after lying unconscious for several days, came again to the village to share this message of Christ’s forgiveness. The women beat him a third time, but, as he was losing consciousness, he saw the women beginning to weep. The next time he awoke, the same women were around his own bed, tending his terrible wounds and nursing him back to health. The entire village had come to Christ.
This is just one story in a series from the chapter on suffering. How small my own faith is! How little is my own trust in the sovereignty of God! How unwillingly I give up even the smallest convenience for the sake of the Gospel! How fearfully I approach evangelism, even when I know that my life and health are safe no matter how bold I might be!
I spent a lot of time crying as I read through that chapter, as I cried out to God for a faith so bold that pain would be a joy when compared to silence. And if that means I’m a cry-baby, I guess I’ll take the title!