82nd Airborne-New York, 1946
Suffering for Jesus ? From “Ouch!” To Victory
Phillip Hogan told the story of a rookie airman from the Midwest on one of his first missions—the famous bombing run led by Jimmy Doolittle and immortalized by the film, “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo” from the Second World War.
Our friend manned one of the machine gun turrets on the B-25B Mitchell bomber and his job was to fend off the wasp-like fighter planes which rose to defend their city against attack.
When flack began to shake the bomber the young man panicked and broke radio silence with a message to the pilot: “Captain, they’re shooting at us!”
The grim-faced pilot had bigger problems and he commanded, “Shut up and fire! This is war!”
From our safe little haven seventy years later we smile, but I’ve got a question for you. Have you ever panicked and grabbed the microphone to send God a message? “Lord, they are shooting at me!”
Ah yes, it’s war! Some of you reading this are hearing the explosion of spiritual flak all around you. You catching slaps upside your head because of the Lord Jesus.
So what should we do? Peter the apostle has the answer for us. “Shut up and shoot boy! This is war!” Well, he didn’t exactly use those words but he wasn’t far away.
“And if it is true that we are living in a time of judgment, then those who suffer according to God’s will can only commit their souls to their faithful creator, and go on doing all the good they can. (1 Peter 4:19, JB Phillips)
If you’re attacked because of your faith in Jesus, give yourself 100% to Him and keep doing good, keep serving Him. Keep “shooting.”
Here are a few bits of free advice swiped from Peter : Look at the situation and make sure you’re being persecuted because of your faith in the Lord Jesus and not because you’re obnoxious or dishonest (1 Peter 4:15)
Realize that the devil comes against you because of the presence of God in you. He doesn’t love the Lord Jesus and as a result you aren’t among his favorite people either.
So, the “Prince of the Power of the Air” and his followers treat us like enemies (Ephesians 2:2) Rejoice. If the devil treated you like a friend, that would be bad news because his friends are going to spend a loooonnng time with him. If you’ve drawn persecution and insults because of Jesus, the Spirit of Christ is so evident in your life that you’ve become a target of the bad guys. You’re on Jesus’ side and everyone knows it. (1 Peter 4:14)
Someone once asked, “If you were put on trial because of your faith in Jesus, could the prosecutor find enough evidence to convict you?” We don’t go looking for persecution, but when it comes it’s a good sign that there is evidence of Jesus in our life.
Let’s pray fervently that God will be proud of how we act in the furnace. Act in a way that is worthy of His Name when our classmates call us, “Preacher” or when the professor singles us out because we’re not in agreement with his agnostic proclamations.
Hang in there when your unbelieving husband makes your life difficult because of your faith in Jesus, or when the in-laws insist that you show up at their house each Sunday at noon sharp. They know where you are Sunday morning.
Be patient when other less-qualified people are promoted because the boss doesn’t like your faith. Be the best worker he has.
Let me repeat one thing though: when we’re persecuted, don’t let it be because we’re difficult, lazy, or ornery. It’s easy to say that the problem is our faith when, in reality, it’s our strange character that’s attracting fire.
Some people will be persecuted, not because of their testimony for Christ, but simply because they’re pitiful. Don’t blame the Lord for that persecution.
Yep, just like gold has to be purified by fire, so does our faith. We need to see if it’s real or just “fool’s gold.”
One more thing we must remember: one day we’re going to stand before the Lord and if we’ve been faithful what joy there will be!
New York City exploded with joy in 1946 when the 13,000 men of the 82nd Airborne Division stepped out to lead the troops in a tickertape parade to celebrate the end of World War II. That’s nothing compared with the explosion of joy and victory in God’s presence as the people of God break forth in praise for the victory He gave them. At last the battle will be finished. The war will be won.
Yes, there’s a war going on but it will end. Be faithful and patiently do what is right. It’s worth it.
“You cannot eliminate a thought directly; only exchanges are permitted. Resisting an unwanted thought only entangles you and drives that thought deeper into your mind, making it even more of a distraction. Attempting to get rid of an unproductive thought by fighting it or trying to block it out will not work. You can do away with a negative thought only when you exchange it with a positive thought. It is the Law of Exchange.” (Tommy Newberry in “40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life”)
“PowerPoint has consumed the best years of too many young lives.” -David Silverman
Photo: Library of Congress website