On March 7, 1981, Chester Bitterman III was murdered by left-wing terrorists in Colombia because they thought he was a CIA agent. He wasn’t. He was, in fact, part of a team of Bible translators working to put 33 primitive languages into written form so the speakers of those languages could have a Bible to read.
When the murder happened, the 109 other team members were offered immediate transportation back to the United States, but not one of them accepted. Speaking for the group, one said, “We all came here with the idea that we might go home in a box, but now this possibility seems more real. There’s never been a time like this for growing in the Lord.”*
That last sentence is what amazes and inspires me. Those people were under the very real threat of death, but they weren’t thinking about self-preservation. They were thinking about spiritual growth.
Question: How hard does the enemy have to work to get you to quit serving God?
Is an offensive remark or a thoughtless oversight all it takes to hurt your feelings? I never cease to be amazed at the people who quit their ministry teams or drop out of church altogether the very first time their feathers get a little bit ruffled. Are we really so fragile emotionally that we can’t stand a little mistreatment or discomfort now and then?
In 2 Corinthians 11:23-27, the apostle Paul recounts the hardships he faced that were a direct result of his service to God. They included beatings, whippings, shipwreck, exposure, hunger, and thirst. But not once did he take a backward step. In 2 Corinthians 4:9 he said, “We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.”
We need more believers who will get up again and keep going when they get knocked down. Remember, every backward step you take as a Christian gives an adrenaline boost to Satan and his minions. Resistance, on the other hand, sends them running for cover. (James 4:7)
To be blunt, we need more tough, resilient Christians and fewer crybabies.
For further reflection read Psalm 119:157, Philippians 1:28, and John 15:18-21.
*Leroy Lawson, The Lord of Promises (Cincinnati: Standard, 1983), 72-73