A recent article I posted on fearing God got me thinking about fear in general and, to be more precise, how we can rise above it and defeat it. I had often wondered (even as an atheist) how it was that Christians ever coped with the vast amount of persecution which came there way throughout history (and indeed even nowadays). Surrounded by lions in the colosseum you would have thought they would have been terrified beyond belief. Reading this excerpt written by Tacitus about how Christians were treated under the Romans makes for truly chilling reading.
“Nero punished a race of men who were hated for their evil practices. These men were called Christians. He got a number of people to confess. On their evidence a number of Christians were convicted and put to death with dreadful cruelty. Some were covered with the skins of wild beasts and left to be eaten by dogs. Others were nailed to the cross. Many were burned alive and set on fire to serve as torches at night.”
However I know the secret to how they faced these truly darkest of hours. This is how fear surprisingly worked in both ways and to their advantage. Faced with two fears they chose what would be the greatest fear in my opinion. To remain true to God even when all hope appears extinguished is a truly awe inspiring emotional state. It is to truly glorify God that you would rather be torn to pieces by wild animals than recant your faith to our Lord. It would be the greatest of tests to any Christian to hold firm, to pray, and to be received into the kingdom of God.
My thoughts today are no matter how much you fear something. No matter how much something troubles you. No matter how much you are worried about something. You must bring it before God whilst remaining firm in your belief that he will see you through it. I have already faced fears, troubles and worries in my brief time as a Christian and each time I have been seen through them all by my steadfast faith and proof of God’s hand working in my life. I hope I never have to face such horrors as other Christians have (in antiquity and, shockingly, even nowadays) but if I did the LAST thing I would do is renounce my faith. I can see how they did it now. Keep strong my fellow brothers and sisters.