Friday I am heading to Europe with a mission team to Hungary and Romania and I will take a short jaunt down to Serbia on my own apart from the team. I will be teaching at a churches in Budapest and Eger, Hungary and in Subotica, Serbia, and the team will be doing 2 week-long youth outreaches – one in Eger, Hungary and the other in Bistrita, Romania – which will be youth camps where we will teach English and hope to build relationships through which will share the Gospel with these young people.
We created a website where you can follow us; all the team members are registered as authors, and will be posting photos and updates over the 2 week trip. Here’s that site: https://whitefieldsmissions.wordpress.com
On Sunday I taught Acts chapter 5 at White Fields, and there is this phrase in there which is captivating: that the apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name [of Christ] (Acts 5:41).
That evening, my son told me that there was a “stinky mud” coming up from the drain into our basement shower. You might have already guessed, but it wasn’t exactly mud – it was sewage. I spent that whole night and most of the next day snaking our sewer line, ripping out carpet, and bleaching walls because of the sewage that had come up into the bathroom…
The next morning we got an email from the church in Eger, that many of their key members for this outreach had come down with the flu; one even had to be taken to the hospital.
My wife’s comment on Facebook in response to all of this? “Rejoice that you are counted worthy to suffer for His name!”
What a grand perspective that is! And what a much neglected perspective that is, amongst so many Christians! When the reaction of so many is: “Why would you let this happen to me, God!?” – the response of rejoicing to be counted worthy to suffer for His name is absolutely counter-cultural.
Paul the Apostle talks about the “fellowship of suffering”: that I may know [Christ] and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings (Philippians 2:10)
What Paul is talking about is a special kind of fellowship you can have with Jesus in your suffering.
Not to say that what we went through was particularly abnormal or outstanding, but I believe the perspective is a good and important one to have no matter the degree of your trial, and particularly when those trials come in relation to serving Jesus.