There are men and women who have served God in their generation that many of us know nothing about. Yet, their stories are essential to understanding our faith. Their lives are living proof of what it means to “hate your own life.” (see John 12:25 & Luke 14:26) Their stories challenge me deeply. I struggle with how to apply their hard won life lessons into the context of my 21st century American life. Yet, I am not ready to pretend that I have never heard these stories. Instead, I want to let them saturate my being and change me from faith to faith and from glory to glory. I think one of the greatest lessons learned is to never despair where you are in life to the point of giving up. Keep driving forward and never lose the vision. The determination of these men and women who have gone before us, should challenge us and drive us to pursue a greater commitment to living our whole lives for Jesus, no matter what the cost.
Listen to this passage from the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, and reflect on the dedication of those who dared to live for Jesus when it cost them greatly:
“Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.”
I found a site today where author, pastor, and missions mobilizer John Piper teaches from the biographies of great men and women of God who suffered to take the Gospel to the hardest places of the world in their day. Take some time to read and listen to their stories. They will absolutely amaze you and give you a perspective of ministry you may have never seen before.
Start with the one of Adoniram Judson called, “How Few There Are Who Die So Hard! “. He paid the price to bring the Gospel to Burma, now called Myanmar. You may have heard about this country in the news lately.
The rest of the biographies can be found here. Let me know what you think.