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I dreamed last night that somebody came through the city and rounded up all the Christians. They were coming for us and we could only bring with us whatever we had ready to go when they arrived at our door, because we had to leave as soon as they herded us out. There was no place to hide or run to.

They were coming down the street, somebody said, and we were all rushing to have our toiletries, medications, a couple extra pairs of underwear, etc., packed so we could carry them away with us when they arrived. I remember being upstairs, trying to pack a small bag, trying not to forget the essential things that I need to be healthy and whole, realizing I couldn't fit it all in the bag and they were at the front door now. I remember the horrible feeling of despair, that I couldn't possibly fit all the things I needed for an open-ended, forced trip into this tiny bag. I thought, "My medication will run out!" and "I have no changes of clothes!"

And I remembered, after I woke up this morning and I was brushing my teeth, the images from Schindler's List, of Jewish people being hurried down a cold, snowy street on a gray day, bundled up in heavy woolen coats and carrying brown suitcases...and I remembered the huge pile of suitcases later thrown on the floor of an empty building, as government agents rifled through the contents, stealing money, pajamas, books, pictures in costly frames, mostly-full containers of tooth powder...

...and I realized, it didn't matter what I could have fit in the bag or not, no matter how essential the items were. There was no guarantee I'd be able to keep any of it.

As much as my stomach tightens with fear (as I realize how much I lean on little things I think I need), I remember two things: no matter what, God will provide what I really need, and whatever horrors I can imagine, they will not last forever and they will inevitably end with me going home. For good.

And it lets me breathe deeply and... let go.


I've had nightmares -- and day-mares -- like that too.

It wasn't very long after I became a Christian that I started to hear about believers in other countries (and, of course, at other times in history) who suffered terribly for their faith, and I couldn't help but think, "Wow, that could happen to me." Since then there have been many times when the thought of some gruesome torture or interminable ordeal has crept into my mind and sent a pang of real, visceral terror through me. "Oh, Lord, please, not that...!"

What always comforts me is the recollection of that scene in The Hiding Place where young Corrie is frightened of death, and her father reminds her gently that when they go to Amsterdam together, he doesn't give her the ticket until right before she gets on the train... and that in the same way, the Lord gives us the grace we need when we need it, and not before. So if I don't have the grace and courage to face those things, it's because I don't need it -- yet. But when the time comes, if it should come, God will give me exactly what I need to get through the trial at that time.

But sometimes I really wonder how long it will be before believers like ourselves really are persecuted and imprisoned for our faith, right here in North America. I wouldn't be surprised if it happens in our lifetime -- and that makes me scared for my children. But then I have to remember that they're in the Lord's hands, too.
Your words reminded me of:

On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. -- Jesus, (Matthew 10:18-20)
Yes! I thought of that verse too.
One of the foremost composers of early Church music, Josquin Lebloitte (a.k.a. Josquin Desprez), was jailed in France during one of the episodic purges of "heretics" that went on in medieval France. Whilst he was there, he composed his De profundis and managed to get it out to a friend, who arranged a performance.

So moved was the Queen of France, Charlotte de Savoie, at this piece that she intervened on Josquin's behalf with her husband, Louis XI, who ordered the prisoner released and patronised his music for many years.

God ALWAYS provides. The question to me is not whether God will provide but whether we as humans will be smart enough to take the help that He proffers us.

A man was drowning in a lake and cried, "God will save me!"

A boat drifted by and the occupants said, "Are you OK?" The man said, "God will save me, it's OK!"

A little while later another boat drifted by and a woman called, "Everything all right there?" The man said, "God will save me, I have faith!"

Finally, a log floated by and the man, convinced that God would save him, ignored it and drowned.

When he was cast before the Shechinah (the Divine Presence), he cried, "God, why did you not save my life, when I had such faith in you?"

And God said, "I sent you two boats and a log, what else should I have done?"
Yeah, I've heard that story before (though it was updated to two boats and a helicopter) and it is still such a true parable...