This late afternoon and evening have been difficult. I won’t share details, but you could probably relate – nothing devastatingly horrible, just a “bad night.” Some of it not of my doing, and some of it my own sin in reaction to that which was not of my doing.
However, God is quick, gracious, and kind to remind me that my circumstances are some of the easiest in the world. I received the Voice of the Martyrs magazine in the mail today, and pulled it from the desktop and read of the bravery of persecuted Christians in the Philippines. And then, I read the reflections of Tim Challies, who was reading a biography of John Calvin, in which is reported the martyrdom of one of his countrymen [see below].
Perspective is good. May I learn to endure difficulties easy and hard in the way that my brothers and sisters around the world do with such great faith and hope.
I am grateful that at the end of this day, my “…guilt is taken away, and my sin atoned for.” (Is. 6:7)
I saw two burnt there. Their death inspired in me differing sentiments. If you had been there, you would have hoped for a less severe punishment for these poor unfortunates. …
The first was a very young man, not yet with a beard, he was the son of a cobbler. He was brought in front of the judges and condemned to have his tongue cut out and burned straight afterward. Without changing the expression of his face, the young man presented his tongue to the executioner’s knife, sticking it out as far as he could. The executioner pulled it out even further with pinchers, cut it off, and hit the sufferer several times on the tongue and threw it in the young man’s face. Then he was put into a tipcart, which was driven to the place of execution, but, to see him, one would think that he was going to a feast. …
When the chain had been placed around his body, I could not describe to you with what equanimity of soul and with what expression in his features he endured the cries of elation and the insults of the crowd that were directed towards him. He did not make a sound, but from time to time he spat out the blood that was filling his mouth, and he lifted his eyes to heaven, as if he was waiting for some miraculous rescue. When his head was covered in sulphur, the executioner showed him the fire with a menacing air; but the young man, without being scared, let it be known, by a movement of his body, that he was giving himself willingly to be burned.