Preparing to Suffer

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, August 7, 2020 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

This is not going to be an easy post to go through, and this is perhaps the absolute worst message I or anyone else could give to the average American “Christian” today if I were to expect a thunderous applause. This issue has been heavy on my heart for a couple of years. It was sparked by a sermon by Eric Ludy who “lent his microphone” to Richard Wurmbrand for a sermon; that is, he gave a message that Wurmbrand would have given if he was still around. It is titled “The Perilous Mission,” however, the sermon is currently not found on Ludy’s website.

Richard Wurmbrand started the Voice of the Martyrs ministry. He was a pastor in Romania during the Russian Iron Curtain. He watched firsthand how the Communists invaded and took over the country and the churches before the persecution began. His most famous book is called Tortured for Christ, and recently a movie was made based on the book. It had just been released when Ludy preached the sermon I mentioned, and this summer, I bought the DVD and watched it. It only re-ignited this issue for me.

We do not understand what it means to suffer. Suffering is a critical doctrine for a Christian to understand to survive hard times, yet American Christianity has avoided it like the plague or intentionally speaks against it. Jesus told his disciples that there would be many troubles in this world. This was to a group of men who had already experienced hard times under Roman occupation. Jesus was saying this was nothing compared to what was to come. What happened? Imprisonment, beatings, riots, stoning, shipwrecks, robberies, homelessness, beheadings, crucifixions, banishment, impalement, dragging by horses, hanging, burning at the stake, being sawed in half, and countless other tortures that sinful, wicked men have devised. We don’t know what that means. We really don’t.

We tend to think we suffered this spring with the coronavirus lockdowns. We lost personal freedom. The entire nation was essentially put under house arrest. Freedom to go about and do what we wanted to do was gone. We have been forced to wear masks. Sports were eliminated. Movies were eliminated. Going to school was eliminated. Going to church was eliminated. Running your business was eliminated. For four months (or more depending on which state you live in), we have been suddenly removed of the way of life we were used to. It happened in an instant. While one could argue a massive conspiracy theory on behalf of the liberal left, who really shut down the country? God did, either directly or indirectly.

Many people whined that we were being persecuted because we were told we couldn’t go to church on Easter. Was it a violation of our First Amendment rights? Probably, in my opinion. Given the information we had at the time, I thought that there really weren’t many other options to consider. I now know that the left-leaning governors and local leaders were all too eager to get it going because it gave them instant power. I believe the lockdowns should not have happened at this point, but I can understand the thinking our elected leaders used to make said decisions.

That said, in all this, I have said all along that God is using the past four years of Trump’s administration to expose everyone for who they really are. The left is truly being exposed for who they are (especially with the nationwide riots). The “American Christian” is also being exposed. The most famous “Christian” leaders in the country are “Word of Faith” preachers some of whom think they can “blow away” coronavirus from their stages. They proved to be frauds. If the makers of “American Gospel: Christ Alone” didn’t make that documentary until today, they’d have a LOT more material to work with. That documentary is an exposé about the false teachings of God being there to provide the American with wealth, comfort, prosperity, health, etc., all with no hint of the teachings of suffering. I’ve always been put off by their greed and worship of self, but as this burden of preparing to suffer continues to weigh upon my shoulders, I have an even greater hatred for those teachings. Anyone who listens to them will not be ready by any means for what is about to come.

I want to make it clear that I am not advocating for giving up and letting the evil come and do its thing. We still must rise up and make a stand for what is right, loving justice, granting mercy, walking humbly with God. However, there’s only one thing that can remotely save us without intense persecution: nationwide repentance. Even then, I do believe the U.S. is past the point of redemption. A nationwide repentance could only delay the judgment due our country in a similar way that Josiah’s revival only lasted as long as he reigned before the bottom fell out.

We need to prepare ourselves to suffer. Start going without certain luxuries if you need to. The day will come when we may be denied things like heat, air conditioning, blankets, or clothes, let alone cars, internet, cell phones, TVs, fast food, etc. When I finished watching Tortured for Christ, on my way to fencing practice that afternoon, I was still processing the movie, and a thought came across my mind: “I may not make it through life, standing for truth as I am now, without being sent to prison for it.” I’m 37 years old, maybe about halfway through my life. I’m not going to stop defending the faith, calling out false teachings, and proclaiming Christ. I’m not at the point of boldness where I could be as Wurmbrand who would intentionally go into the Communist soldiers’ barracks to preach Christ, knowing he could be arrested that instant. Being bold on Facebook or an internet blog is one thing. But when face to face, it’s another issue. When your life and others’ lives are at risk for speaking the truth, it’s a whole separate issue.

There is one scene that stood out to me in this movie. It also one Ludy pointed out because his then 13-year-old son was with him to watch it. One of the pastors had been horrifically beaten and was chained to a wall. The Communists brought in the pastor’s son, only 12-14 years old at most, chained him up, stripped him, and then beat him to get the pastor to give the names and locations of other believers to be arrested too. The pastor gave in, but his son told him, “Don’t tell them anything. Don’t be a traitor. Keep preaching Jesus.” The son was beaten so badly that he died with his blood splatted all over the cell, all in front of his father. The father didn’t reveal the names, but he was never the same. Ludy singles out this scene because his son identified with that pastor’s son and saw himself potentially being put in that position.

Let me make this very clear. When this persecution hits, it won’t be just us affected. Our children will be, too, and not just in being potentially made orphans. Right now, I don’t have kids (God has not let that door open), but I am around kids all the time through coaching fencing and teaching. I have to consider what I would do if I were arrested, beaten, and then the guards bring in one of my students to torture in front of me until I talked. Would I be willing to let them go through hell to maintain my faith and my integrity and the lives of those not yet caught? Would that kid know me well enough and know my faith well enough that he or she could endure beatings, rapes, the searing of flesh, broken bones, ripped out nails, or even worse, and then encourage me not to speak? I’m dead serious that we need to be preparing how we would handle such situations. While I cannot know exactly what I would do until such a moment happens, I have to be getting myself ready to make that decision in advance. Because believe me on this: you cannot and will not make the decision to be loyal to Christ in prison, unless you’ve made that decision beforehand. You could still fail, but unless you decide in advance you will be loyal, you already failed and sealed the deal.

What I am describing here is “par for the course” for the Christian around the world throughout the last 2000 years, from the Apostles through today in the Islamic Middle East and the Communist Eastern Nations. That “great cloud of witnesses” the author of Hebrews tells us about are the ones who went through this stuff. And we complain about not attending our fancy brick buildings in groups on an Easter Sunday because of an overhyped plague, or things are too difficult because we lost a job. We don’t know a thing about suffering in this country. I fear we are about to face the real thing, and we won’t be ready for it. There will be no nominal Christians then. No more fakers at that point. Start preparing, and don’t count on a rapture to come save you before it happens because this may or may not be related to the end times.

I do want to end this post with a reminder that while this great suffering is likely fast coming our way, we Christians have something that no one else does: hope. We have hope for life eternal. We can take the hit, because we know there is more than this life to consider. Stay tuned for more on that in next week’s post.

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