Sometimes I think of martyrdom.
I wonder, if I were arrested and tortured for my faith, would I be able to stand.
These thoughts scare me at first. I think about the pain to my body, the disgrace, the shame. I think about how weak I am; how quickly I would deny my whole Source of Meaning for a moment of relief or comfort. I think about how stupidly unwise I am; how easy it would be to trick me or ensnare me in a lie.
I become very conscious of myself--my inabilities, my frailties, my lack of courage.
I think of martyrdom because Jesus tells me and all Christians to be ready; be prepared. Am I a fool to think such a thing could happen to me, a law abiding American? Or is God warning me to be aware?
I cannot say why I think of martyrdom.
I am not an overly dramatic person, perhaps just a very realistic one.
One would think these thoughts would scare me half to death, and they do, at first. But then, in my head--in the recesses of my memory bank--is planted Jesus' promise to his disciples.
Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
If, in the moment of trial, I can put aside my self consciousness and, by God's grace, have Holy Spirit consciousness, I need not worry. God will use His instrument--my mouth, my body, my life--upon which to play His truth.
When I think of martyrdom, I am comforted.
I have The Comforter to guard me against falling prey to the comforts of this kingdom on earth. This Comforter will bear its on testimony to my soul. This Comforter gives me peace, above my understanding.