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1. I am regularly impressed by the straightforward trust in God exhibited by believers in nations where Christians are persecuted. The feature article in this month’s VOM newsletter was on Iran. Said one Iranian Christian quoted in the article,
Before we go out to evangelize, we pray and ask God to show us who really needs God and loves God, and God shows us which people to speak to.
How straightforward is that? It reminds me of James 1:5-6,
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
I see no doubting here. Witnessing the faith of persecuted Christians makes me feel my own faith to be very small indeed.*
2. I am regularly reminded how different life can be, and how fortunate I am to live in a nation where religious freedom is respected. From another Iranian Christian in the same article,
We have to be very careful with the children. One of the children, a 7-year-old boy, on his first day in school stood in a row to repeat with others a phrase glorifying Muhammad. The boy stood up on a chair and said, ‘No, in the names of Jesus, I can’t say this. I rebuke this saying.’ The principal called in his parents to interrogate them.
I don’t think many American parents fear this kind of interrogation. And then there are prosaic problems believers in nations like Iran have to deal with as well – yet another Iranian mentions how starved they are for Bibles. How many Bibles do I own? I’m not sure – that says it all, doesn’t it?
And regarding that last point, there is a great VOM Bible-distribution project you can get involved in.
*As an aside, I get so annoyed on those (fortunately rare) occasions when I hear a pastor actually recommend doubt. What they’re thinking is that people with doubts have to wrestle with those doubts and thereby often gain a better understanding of what they believe. That’s great, but doubt is still not a good thing – the Bible speaks against it over and over again. (And think about it – if you doubted the goodness of a friend, and thus conducted an investigation of their past, you would get to know them better. But does that make doubting their goodness a good thing? Not at all. There are other ways to gain that understanding.)
If you, somehow, have a faith without doubts, please keep it.