"Emotional fragility"....now there's a term that hit me squarely between the eyes if there ever was one!! Of all the polls and games on FACEBOOK that are meant to identify you, I have not seen a one that identified anyone as "emotionally fragile". Yet I can certainly relate to that term.
John Piper wrote "I have found in [my disappointments and discouragements] there is a great power of encouragement in keeping before me the life of men who surmounted great obstacles in obedience to God's call by the power of God's grace.
One of the pervasive marks of our time is emotionaly fragility. We are easily hurt. We pout and mope easily. We break easily. Our marriages break easily. Our faith breaks easily. Our happiness breaks easily. And our commitment to the church breaks easily. We are easily disheartened, and it seems we have little capacity for surviving and thriving in the face of criticism and opposition."
If Piper is correct, and I believe he is, then what sort of men went before us?
William Carey is a good example of what sort. Piper writes of him, "For his first two years in India, [he] got no mail. During his first seven years he got no converts. After nineteen years of hard labor a fire destroyed his precious manuscripts....and ten versions of the Bible. He had an accident and was lame to the end. He lost two wives to death...and he never went home...for 41 years!! So what kept Carey going? Incredible faith in the sovereign goodness of God.
When I left England my hope of conversion for India was very strong; but amongst so many obstacles it would die unless upheld by God. Well I have God and his word is true. Though the superstitions of the heathen were a thousand times stronger than they are, the example of the Europeans a thousand times worse; though I was deserted by all and persecuted by all, yet my faith fixed on that sure Word would rise above all obstacles and overcome every trial. God's cause will triumph.
When he saw the smoldering fire that destroyed his work, with tear filled eyes he said, 'In one short evening the labors of years are consumed. How unsearchable are the ways of God....The Lord has laid me low that I may look more simply to Him."
Now there was a man who made no acquaintance with emotional fragility!
Lest you think, however, that there are no lionhearted saints still left, read on....
"A thirteen-year-old Nigerian Christian has told Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) sources how she was forced to watch her pastor’s murder, and has also spoken of her four-day ordeal as a prisoner in the besieged compound of Islamist group, Boko Haram.
On 26 July, Mary was in church with her pastor, his brother and an older Christian woman when a group of fifty militants broke in. She and her pastor hid as the group killed the pastor’s brother and dragged the older woman out of the room. On discovering their hiding place, the militants cut off her pastor’s hand to stop him holding on to her, then hacked him to death with machetes before setting him on fire.
The girl and the woman were dragged to Boko Haram’s compound in Maiduguri’s Railway district, and were placed in a room with around 100 other Christian women and girls. They were all asked to renounce their faith or face continued imprisonment, while Christian men were given the choice of renouncing their faith or dying.
Mary vividly describes how she was forced to wash the blood stained clothing of Boko Haram fighters. She was in the camp for four days, but managed to escape with a few others when military forces intensified their attack on the compound.
Mary’s pastor was one of three Christian ministers targeted and killed by Boko Haram during last week’s violence. Photographs showing the corpse of one murdered pastor from the Church of Christ in Nigeria, Rev Sabo Yakubu, indicate that his heart may have been ripped out.
Stuart Windsor, CSW’s National Director said: “CSW is deeply saddened by the appalling nature of the crimes committed by this sect against innocent civilians. Local Christians have also expressed disappointment that some western media have disregarded the targeted nature of attacks on their community, and the brutal murders of Christian pastors. Unless this aspect of the violence is recognised by all and dealt with effectively, people in Northern Nigeria will continue to suffer because of their religious beliefs”.
As we stand on the precipice of the last days, will we be like William Carey and Mary, or will be the poster child for "emotional fragility"? Maybe it would behoove us to check ourselves to see if perhaps our diet is too full of "junk food" instead of feeding on the solid meat of the Word of God so that we can be workmen who need not to be ashamed.
4 hours ago