PERSECUTION MAKES YOU STRONGER
One of the many topics I could speak of but haven't is what happened to me in the three and a half years I lived in Spanish Fork, Utah. I have a unique perspective on the topic of persecution, and I know all my friends at my church went though all the same crap I went through. This isn't some, "Woe is me!" type of post, even though this thing could very easily descend into it. It's a post about how what looks nice and spotless on the outside is really more akin to hell on earth.
I have been through persecution. All of us might be able to say something like this. We maybe got yelled at by secular bigots or someone hurt our feelings because of our faith. Try to imagine, if you would, going to school and only knowing two or three people at school that even remotely believe the same thing as you. Imagine a constant pressure exerted on you by your friends to become like them. Imagine the mental games these kids of 10, 11, 12 years old play with you to try to bring you to their way of believing. Imagine being 10 and wanting to go to Church because it was one of the only places where you found relief. Imagine being in a religious version of 1984. This is what I went through for three and a half years.
I admit, there wasn't the beatings, the physical anguish, and murder that is what we normally associate with persecution. I was bullied, but that never amounted to much. The mental aspect was bad enough. It probably did do psychological damage to me. I have my ideas, but it is probably something better for him to evaluate rather than doing a self-diagnosis.
Throughout this, I had an excellent pastor to shepherd me through all of this. Pastor Stube is an excellent pastor, and if anyone is reading me in FT. Wayne, make sure to tell him I say hello. He gave me a gift more precious than the gold I panned the first time I was in Alaska: the liturgy. It is amazing how much comfort the liturgy can give to a child in pain. God's Word is powerful, and when the rubber really hits the road, you will find yourself falling back on that you remember. The liturgy is a powerful gift, and don't let any pastor tell you different.
Persecution does make you weaker and stronger at the same time. It makes you weak because of how little strength you realize you have, but you become strong because the faith in you clings all the more to Christ and his promises. It is a strange thing to look back on and see how strong my faith was and how dependent on God I actually was. One of the gifts of persecution is to give you the faith of a child.
I think this is all I wish to say about this topic for now. I may say more later. I may not. I think it is important to talk about these things. I'm just not sure how much I really wish to talk.
Crossposted at Here We Stand