Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was written by John Foxe in 1563. It details the deaths and sufferings of the early apostles and other Christians up through the inquisition and the medieval church.
It’s been nearly thirty years since I read the book as a young Christian but I still remember how it jarred my heart. In fact, I muttered aloud a short prayer. “Lord, if You want me to be a martyr for You, that’s okay with me. I can probably handle crucifixion, firing squad, hanging or being beheaded, but please don’t let me be burned at the stake. I’m not sure I will be a good witness for You if I die that way.”
At the time, I worked at a motel-restaurant and drove a catering van, delivering meals to senior citizens.
One day, I was running behind schedule and in a hurry. Using only pot holders, I removed a large pan of roast beef from an oven. My hand slipped and the pan’s liquid drenched over my hand. 170° of scalding juice.
I quickly set the pan down and looked at my hand. It was red, there was pain on the surface of my skin, but no inner pain. It did not bother me in the least.
Two cooks rushed over and wanted to rush me off to the hospital. I shook my head and put it under a cold water faucet. No problems.
That experience and the following testimony by Corrie Ten Boom has kept my heart open to the possibility of being a witness until death (martyr) for Jesus:
When I was a little girl, I went to my father and said, “Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.”
“Tell me,” said Father. “When you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?”
“No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train.”
“That is right,” my father said, “and so it is with God’s strength. Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need – just in time…” (Tramp for the Lord)
So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)
The fourth reason for becoming a part of the Great Falling Away – now or in the future – will be fear that God’s grace cannot help us in our suffering.
(Continued in Part 7…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)