I have always been fascinated by martyrdom and the faith required to stand up for Christ to the bitter (often horrific) end. The very act of martyrdom has often been the strongest witness, not only of the martyr’s faith, but also of the transforming power martyrdom can have on the other witnesses.
I remember when I was a teenager I bought a CD and the cover image was a picture of a Buddhist monk sitting in the street in his robe, fully engulfed in flames. Now what the picture didn’t tell you is the backstory of how this monk had poured gasoline on himself, and set HIMSELF on fire, in defense of his faith and in defiance of his government.
I can remember thinking to myself, “Man, I wish I had that kind of faith!”
No, I didn’t have a death-wish, I was just amazed that someone could know that they know, that they KNOW, they are right or have the truth. Now the monk didn’t inspire me to become a Buddhist, but he did inspire and motivate me to seek out something. I thought “maybe he is right, or maybe that group over there is right. Whoever is right, I just want to know. I just want to know the truth.” That desire sent me on a quest for the truth that has changed my life.
The men and women I’m going to talk about, knew the truth, they fought for it, and they gave up what they could not keep (in this world), to gain what they could not lose (in the next).
Die with Us!
Haim and his family
All during the night, the members of Haim’s family comforted each other. They knew they only had a few more hours to live on this earth. The Cambodian Communist soldiers had tied them all together and forced them to lie down on the grass.
Earlier that day, Haim’s whole family had been rounded up for execution. Because they were all Christians, the Communists considered them “bad blood” and “enemies of the glorious revolution.”
In the morning they were made to dig their own graves.
The killers were generous. They allowed their victims a moment of prayer to prepare themselves for death. Parents and children held hands and knelt together near the open grave. After his family finished their prayers, Haim exhorted the Communists and all those looking on to repent and to receive Jesus as Savior.
Suddenly, one of Haim’s young sons leapt to his feet, bolted to the nearby forest, and disappeared. Haim was amazingly cool as he persuaded the soldiers not to chase the boy but to allow him to call the boy back. While the family knelt, the father pleaded with his son to return and die with them.
“Think my son,” he shouted. “Can stealing a few more days of life, as a fugitive in that forest, compare to joining your family here around a grave, but soon free forever in paradise?”
Weeping, the boy walked back.
Haim said to the executioners, “Now we are ready to go.” But none of the soldiers would kill them. Finally, an officer who had not witnessed the scene came and shot the Christians.
Atheists—those who don’t believe in God or life after death, are amazed when Christians are ready to sacrifice their lives rather than deny a God no one can see. They don’t understand the deep work of the Holy Spirit and how He makes both the Father’s love and heaven an undeniable reality in the heart of a believer. From the book Jesus Freaks
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs-heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:16-18
Keep the Faith! God Bless, Zach Williams