Being Ready To Suffer

Callie Mitchell, SAVED News International Correspondent, Jerusalem, Israel, — Last month, Elisabeth Elliot, a hero of the faith, went to be with the Lord at eighty-eight years old. If you are unfamiliar with her story, Mrs. Elliot served as a missionary in Ecuador in the 1950’s where her husband Jim, along with four other men where speared to death while attempting to take the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, Messiah Yeshua, to an unreached people. After the martyrdom of their husbands, in a stunning act of love, forgiveness, and perseverance, the widows were able to reach this tribe with truth.
Growing up in church, I was familiar with her story, but Elisabeth Elliot’s books and messages first became paramount to my growth at 19 years old, when the Lord gave this baby believer – less than a year into my personal relationship with Him – a clear calling to serve Him overseas.
Now about 13 years later, I’m doing (most of) what He spoke into my heart, and the scriptural admonishments offered by Mrs. Elliot to “pick up your cross” and to “count the cost”, has helped me persevere in Israel. The land of milk and honey is not an easy place to be, and we all face a wide variety of internal and external challenges on any given day! It is worth it for the sake of this nation’s salvation, but that doesn’t make it less hard (keep praying for me!)
Teaching a theology of suffering and dying to self, as Mrs. Elliot did, is not an easy message, but as the last days body of Messiah, it is one we should begin fully embracing in order to stay strong in hope.
Yeshua tells us in Matthew 24 that in the last days, we will suffer. We will experience famines and earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars. We will be delivered over to tribulation, hated, persecuted and killed for His namesake. Yeshua tells us these things will happen to us, you and me, those who are saved and redeemed. And it is happening today. Only a three-hour drive north of where we live, ISIS is grotesquely executing believers for their faith in Syria, and also in Iraq, at a mass scale. Our brothers and sisters in the Lord are living in those red letters. The rhythm of wars Israel has faced in the last few years, also red letters.
He was good to tell us this would happen so that we can be ready to endure. I’m learning that I need to start by choosing to die to self in the places that no one can see; in my thought life, my attitude, and my heart, even when staying in the flesh is more comfortable than obedience to God’s word, and no one would know it otherwise. Endurance starts and ends with a choice to live submitted to the Lord, no matter what the circumstances might be. This is a hard word, but be encouraged! Whoever looses his life for Yeshua’s sake will find it, for all eternity!

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