“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:10
It was illegal to be a Christian. Illegal to serve God and worship Jesus. Illegal to own a Bible, let alone read it. Illegal to go to church. Illegal to meet as a body of Christian believers. The list goes on and on, yet for a band of rebel outlaws, man’s laws did not control them. They looked to a Higher Power, and they risked everything for their Master.
Time: during the 1970’s
It started out normally, the way it usually did. Late at night. In the privacy of a fellow believer’s home. Some of the members may have walked miles. Others may have ridden bikes. It is certain that however they arrived at this location, they did so with as little pomp and fuss as possible. There were no fancy cars or elegant clothes. No one stood outside greeting people or waving as other’s passed. This was a group of Christians who met to conduct illegal activities. They wanted to blend in with the night. This group had come together to secretly study the Bible and to learn how to better serve Christ.
On this particular night, as the pastor began to read the Word of God to the people, the door burst open. Communist soldiers swarmed the little room. They shouted angrily, cursed the group, and shook guns in the faces of the believers. The soldiers hurled insults and threats; the Christians said nothing.
Realizing who the pastor was, the soldiers’ commander approached him. “Give me your book,” he ordered. Reluctantly, the preacher handed over his most treasured possession. Instead of reverently accepting the book, the soldier viciously cast it to the ground. Collectively, the group held its breath waiting to see what he would do next. Glaring he continued, “You may leave unharmed,” he sneered at the Bible on the floor, “After you spit on this book.”
Gasps and murmurs coursed through the room. “Should you refuse to spit on it, you will be executed.” His words penetrated the Christians’ hearts. Spit on the Bible or die. There were no other options.
Another soldier brandished his gun at one of the men in the group. “You first.”
The man slowly rose from the corner, crossed the room, and knelt beside the Bible. Murmuring a prayer for forgiveness, he spit. The soldiers shuffled away from the door allowing him to pass.
As the Christians watched in silence, the soldier nudged a woman with his gun. “You’re next.” The scene repeated itself. She went forward, spat on the Bible and was permitted to leave.
Up next was a teenage girl approximately 16 or 17-years-old. Quietly she crossed the room and knelt down beside the Bible. Picking up the Bible, she wiped the man and woman’s spit onto her dress. Overcome by emotion, she prayed, asking forgiveness for the weakness of her fellow believers.
The soldier put his gun to her head and pulled the trigger. She was dead before her body hit the ground.
What made this Book so special? Why would a group of people risk their lives to meet secretly in the middle of the night to study it? Why would the young lady give her life for the words it contained? What would YOU do in her place?
What a powerful testimony! We take for granted so many of our freedoms that we don’t even realize how much of an impact they really are on our lives. Thank you for sharing this story! I wonder what the rest of the group did and if the others changed their minds.
Renee, I don’t know the other people’s choices, but I know our precious sister is enjoying her reward, sitting at the feet of her Savior! “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10).
What a reminder to be thankful for our freedom of religious expression. However, persecution of Christians has begun in America! People are already losing their jobs and businesses just because they are taking a stand for their Christian beliefs. Pastors are beginning to be monitored by government agencies. What’s next?
I hate seeing our freedoms removed, but I know Christ foretold this. “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9). I find solace in the fact that it means one thing — “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28). Praise God, He’s coming for us, His children!!!
Jesus said in Luke 21:10-19 “Nation will rise against nation…there shall be great earthquakes…famines…terrors, and great signs from heaven… But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you, and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. (This is already happening.) It gives the response to this in verses 13 to 15: “It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. So make up you minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves;for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.”
Amen, John! Think of trying to stop a fire from stomping on an ember; it doesn’t work. The fire spreads. It’s the same for our faith. If you look at any of the periods of persecution, you see one thing in common. The more governments try to stifle it, the more it spreads. If we must suffer persecution, I am comforted in knowing that it will mean a new crop of brothers and sisters!