Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 31, 2012

They believed it was for a reason.

The suffering. The hardships. Countless deaths in the family. The fear of being uprooted, jailed, and burned. The constant jeering. The accusations of heresy. The Huguenots refused to die. Their bodies could not withstand the final insults, but their souls --- those great and glorious souls of the Protestant martyrs --- sought eternal life. In this way they could not be destroyed.

There were many Scripture verses to which early Protestants could look for assurance. It seemed there was an answer for everything in God's Word. When the persecution was too much to bear, they must have sought comfort in Matthew 5:10, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

There were verses that expressed the hardships of oppression and how they must be handled, such as 1 Corinthians 4:12-13, "We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted; we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world -- right up to this moment."

There were also verses that expressed the melancholia and longing that these godly but all-too-human men and women of faith must have felt daily. David's Psalms, so beloved in the Huguenot tradition, served very well to show their anguish and yet highlight their determination. Psalm 119:86-87 reads, "All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for I am being persecuted without cause. They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts."

The Huguenots understood that their pain was part of a greater plan, that the "Refiner's fire" would use persecution to turn them into examples of Christian longsuffering, patience, and steadfast faith. They did not complain; they became resourceful. When death was unavoidable, they went forth to trade the beast of intolerance and persecution for the Lion of Judah.

In the end, their spiritual treasures far surpassed anything the world might have had to offer.

(c) 2012 Joyously Saved

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