Faith is proven in the midst of persecution.
Bobby has worked as a firefighter for a number of years, and as such, deals with dying people every day. When he’s faced with one emergency that’s guaranteed to end in a man’s death, he comforts the dying man the only way he knows how -- by sharing the gospel with him. Bobby holds his wooden cross as he holds the man’s hand, and he accepts Christ before passing away. But when the man’s wife discovers the cross in her husband’s hand, she becomes angry and confused- her husband wasn’t religious before, so what is he doing holding a cross? Later, the Fire Chief calls Bobby into his office. That widow has filed a complaint and plans to press charges against Bobby, believing that he withheld life-saving services to convert the dying man to his own religion. According to the chief, if Bobby writes an letter apologizing for the incident and promising he will never do it again, he won’t have to go to court, and the union will be able to stand by him. However, he refuses. He knows what he really did, and he won’t apologize for sharing Christ with a dying man. His chief warns him though- he won’t have the union’s support in his case, and the widow will be able to sue him for everything he owns. But Bobby stands by his decision, even when his wife thinks it’s a terrible idea.
Persecution, Division, Suffering, Hate, Faith
Bobby stands in his room, putting the finishing touches on his uniform before he speaks with the union about his side of the story. Elena, his wife, walks in, and when he tells her what he’s getting ready for, asks, “Have you decided what [your side of the story] is gonna be?” “The truth,” Bobby responds simply. “Which truth?” Elena asks, frustrated. “The one that’s going to keep you working or the one that’s going to get you fired?” She’s clearly upset with him for taking things this far, and thinks he’s being ridiculous to put his family on the line for his faith. However, Bobby is convinced. “I didn’t know there were different versions to choose from." She begs him, one last time, to change his mind, but he tells her he doesn’t have a choice. “You’ve been making a lot of choices lately,” she accuses. When he asks what she means, she fires back, “Bobby, you made the decision to start going to church without even asking me! We talked about it, but you decided it, you did it on your own.” She tells him how he risks his life every day for strangers, but is willing to throw everything away for this. “At least think about the kids, will you do that? Just think about the kids!” Bobby grows quiet at this, and tells her “I am thinking about the boys. And how I want them to behave when they become men.” Elena drops her arms and shuts her eyes, clearly defeated. “Well, it looks like you’ve made up your mind. I hope it all works out, Bobby.” And with this, she turns and leaves her husband alone in the room. He puts his head in his hands and sits down on the bed, frustrated and scared and alone.
Bobby is faced with an incredibly difficult decision: does he lie about his remorse for sharing Christ to protect his family, or does he stick by his decision and tell the truth? It’s a terrible situation to be in, and it’s only exacerbated by his wife’s pressure. In life, we will all be called to make hard decisions for our faith. Whether that’s deciding to tell a white lie here or there to save a little money, or choosing to do the right thing, even when you know it’s unpopular, God calls us to place Him and His will for our lives before our own. And we shouldn’t be surprised when the world doesn’t understand. 2 Timothy 3:12 promises us that everyone who desires to live a Godly life will be persecuted. 1 John 3:13 explicitly tells us that the world will hate us for what we believe. But even though the world (and in Bobby’s case, his own family) is against us, we find strength in God’s power and goodness. Luke 6:22 calls us blessed when people hate us and exclude us because of our love for Jesus. 1 Peter 3:14 tells us that if we suffer for righteousness sake, we will be blessed. And through all of the trials and challenges and persecution, we know that God will not fail us (2 Corinthians 4:8-12). Though the road may feel lonely, know that you are not alone in your journey. God is with you, and with Him, nothing is impossible to face.