Shortly after becoming a Christian in 1997, Hezekiah went to what was known locally as the “sanctuary” to receive discipleship and evangelism training. He then returned to his father’s house and was immediately approached by thirty-five relatives and villagers demanding to know why he had converted to Christianity. He told them, “Jesus is the only way I can be saved from my sins and have eternal life.”
The crowd grew angry, and Hezekiah tried to reason with them. Finally, they grabbed him by the hair and began to punch him in the face until he fell unconscious.
A friend of Hezekiah was able to take him to his house where he remained in bed for four days recuperating from the beatings. Hezekiah has never been able to return to his father’s house, but he continues to travel from village to village in Laos carrying the good news of salvation.
Since the first incident, Hezekiah has been beaten on ten separate occasions, sometimes preferring death to the continued suffering. He testifies: “As I have matured in my walk with Christ, I have more faith to endure these hardships. The trials I have gone through have served to strengthen my faith, and I see God’s faithfulness in delivering me. I thank God I have been able to bring thirty people to the saving knowledge of Jesus.”
God’s loyalty to his children is not based on reciprocity. If it were, we would all have been abandoned long ago. Instead, God is well aware of our frailties and chooses to love us anyway. We must be careful to read the stories of Christian martyrs in light of God’s loyalty to his children. The martyrs would be the first to remind us that their story is not about them. It’s about God! Though we read many believers who willingly endured scourging rather than renouncing Christ, the amazing conclusion is not the extreme loyalty of a person but the extreme faithfulness of the God of glory. Your faithfulness may falter, but his steadfast loyalty to you never ends. Take time to thank God for his loyalty today.
Excerpted from Extreme Devotion, a book of 365 true accounts of men and women who totally sold out for Jesus. You can order a copy of this book from our online catalogue or by contacting our office.