Comes from Dave Black and is a piercing call for the church to stop seeking after comfort and safety and start embracing suffering as part of the witness of the people of Christ. From The Persecuted Church: An Obstreperous Flower:
Jesus taught that unless a seed is planted and dies, there is no life. How then can we refuse to accept suffering as a normal part of our Christian life? No excuse is acceptable before God. We have no option. We must come to the place where suffering for the sake of the gospel is normal. We must arrive at a place in our lives where we learn to run to suffering and embrace it.
Nothing reveals the bankruptcy of the American church more clearly and quickly than our lukewarmness toward suffering. Because we have not yet comprehended the place of suffering in the Christian life we fail to see the terrible state of rebellion we are on. We have countless opportunities to trust God in the midst of persecution, yet it is rare to see Christians moving out in reliance upon God to the dangerous places of the world. I see dozens of famous Christian leaders preaching weekly from their pulpits who would never think of giving at least equal time to world missions. Yet we go on blindly -- holding our annual missionary conferences and talking about reaching the world for Christ without ever going ourselves.
Unless we come to a place of personal involvement we can never truly understand missions. Unless we learn to place the needs of the world above our own, we are in danger of producing a twenty-first century baby boom of immature saints. We have not learned to live sacrificially, as Jesus taught us to live, until we relate the crying demands of the unfinished missionary task to our own everyday lives and work.
Very true and quite convicting. Something else Dr. Black said struck me as well, something not in sync with American Christianity:
When our sons and daughters go off to war we honor them for their willingness to die in military service. But the minute our children tell us they want to give up career or marriage for the sake of Christ we spend countless hours trying to keep them from "going off the deep end." Much of today's popular pseudo-patriotism and flag waving is centered around a horrible distortion of Bible doctrine. It denies the very heart of the Gospel and says, "Self-denial for the sake of the nation is honorable, but before we follow Jesus we must bury our dead or bid farewell to our families or build new barns."
Also true but it is not popular to say it. Many Christian parents think nothing is more noble than having a child serve in the military but the idea of their child going to a foreign land without a gun and the might of the U.S. military to defend them is unthinkable. How I wish we would encourage our children and prepare them to serve Christ instead of serving their country. How much more in keeping with the self-denying, cross carrying life of weakness of a disciple of Christ that would be. Going to the "other" with the words of life and a willingness to die if need be instead of going to the "other" with a rifle and a willingness to kill if need be.