Sunday, November 18, 2012

Extreme freedom

Moravia: Paul Glock

Paul Glock was in a predicament. He was imprisoned for his Anabaptist beliefs, and his warden had given him some freedoms on the basis that he promised not to escape. He was allowed to fetch wood, repair shoes, do odd jobs, and run errands, but he had to stay out of sight when strangers approached, so that the religious leaders would not learn of his freedom.

Paul was puzzled by his freedom. His warden, Klaus von Grafeneck, had witnessed the martyrdom of fellow Anabaptist Michael Sattler in 1527. A mere bystander, Klaus was overcome when Sattler prayed for him just before he was executed. That had been twenty-five years before, and perhaps Klaus had a soft place in his heart toward the unjustly persecuted Anabaptists.

Paul had nothing to lose. His wife and child were already dead; he had only his fellow brethren in Moracia. But Paul would not yield to the temptation to flee. If he escaped, Klaus, who had been so good to him, would be in tremendous legal trouble, and future Anabaptists imprisoned in that area would be scrutinized. Paul resolved to be a person of his word.

God later honoured Paul’s decision. In 1576, a fire broke out in the castle where he was held. He and a fellow prisoner helped put out the flames and so won their freedom before the religious leaders, who staunchly opposed Paul, could revoke it.

Martyrs’ imprisonment stories are not the stuff of Hollywood movies, where ingenious characters dig tunnels and make secret escape hatches. The plot does not hinge on how the prisoner will escape peril. In fact, like Paul Glock, martyrs did not escape, even when they had the chance to do so. Their stories are about reckoning every situation for God’s glory, regardless of their circumstances. Consider how Paul and Silas led their jailer and his family to Christ because they chose not to escape from jail. Are you preoccupied with finding a way out of your troubles? What if you are exactly where God wants you to be? Maybe God wants you to endure instead of escape.

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.

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