I love missionary stories! That’s probably a good thing, since I will be reading a lot of them this semester.
In our reading for the next class of Biographies we are focusing on “The Early Centuries”, and some of the first missionaries and martyrs. One story stuck out to me, and I want to share it with you.
In the early 200s AD, there was a young woman who became a believer in the city of Carthage. Her name was Perpetua, and she and her servant girl were imprisoned because of their new faith. Perpetua’s family did their best to get her to renounce her faith and come home. The young 22-year old left behind her infant son, and refused to give in even though her father attempted to get her to escape.
She said, “This will be done on the scaffold which God has willed; for I know that we have not been placed in our own power but in God’s”. She did not renounce her faith in the Father, but continued to praise and grow in her faith up until she was tortured in the arena by wild animals and finally beheaded. She was a wonderful witness to all those around her and those who came after her.
Could I stay true to my faith under such intense persecution? I love the Lord and have said I will follow Him no matter what. Yet, I still like to stay comfortable. Sometimes I catch myself adding qualifiers to my yes: “Yes, I will go anywhere, but so long as it has running water and the city isn’t TOO big”, or “I promise, Lord, I will go anywhere, just please not China”. “I will use my gifts and knowledge, but there are certain things I just can’t do”. God wants me to let go of these “buts” and simply say, “Yes”. He wants me to surrender my entire life to His plan, even if that means being uncomfortable, suffering and maybe even giving my life. God honored Perpetua’s great faith and her life was a testimony to His strength and grace. I want my life to be that way too. I don’t know if I could give up my child and family and life for Christ, but I hope my faith can grow to be able to say, “Yes, Lord, no matter what”.