The Others
READ: Hebrews 11:32-40
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. . . . Great is your reward in heaven. —Matthew 5:11-12

When I was growing up, I often spent a week each summer with my grandparents. Many afternoons I would lie in the backyard hammock and read books I found in Grandpa’s bookcase. One was Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. It was heavy reading for a young girl, but I was absorbed by the detailed accounts of Christian martyrs, believers who were told to deny their faith in Christ but refused—thus suffering horrific deaths.

Hebrews 11 tells similar stories. After listing the familiar names of those who demonstrated immense faith in God, the chapter tells of the torture and death of people referred to simply as “others” (vv.35-36). While their names are not mentioned, verse 38 pays them this tribute: “The world was not worthy” of them. They died boldly for their faith in Jesus.

Today, we hear of persecuted Christians around the world, yet many of us have not been tested to that extent. When I examine my own faith, I wonder how I would respond to the prospect of martyrdom. I hope I would have the attitude of Paul, who said that although “chains and tribulations” awaited him (Acts 20:23), he looked forward to finishing life’s race “with joy” (v.24). Are we facing life with that kind of trusting attitude? — Cindy Hess Kasper

When pressures mount because we walk
The path of truth and right,
We can rejoice to know that we
Are pleasing in God’s sight. —D. De Haan

The way to have joy in persecution is to find your joy in Jesus.