Martyrs cost of our faith
Here are some thoughts that I would like to share from a message by John Piper relating to our topic based on Hebrews 11:29-38. These thoughts have really given me some understanding and encourage me greatly that God is in control.
""1. Through our faith God can and does work miracles and acts of providence to bring practical earthly help and deliverance to his people.
What I mean by "miracles" is works of God that involve some extraordinary interruption in the natural cause-effect way that nature works. God breaks into the normal way things work and in an extraordinary way makes them work differently. And in every case here the people of God were helped or rescued from danger or death.
That's one way God works through our faith - namely, by miracles. But I also mentioned "acts of providence." Through our faith God helps us by acts of providence. What I mean by "acts of providence" is works of God that control situations but in a less extraordinary way. Looking on, you would not necessarily say that a miracle happened, but by the eye of faith you see the "invisible hand of God" - as R. C. Sproul calls it.
The point is that God works through faith to do miracles and acts of providence to bring practical, earthly help and deliverance to his people.
2. God does not always work miracles and acts of providence for our deliverance from suffering; sometimes by faith God sustains his people through sufferings.
3. Having faith is not the ultimate determining factor in whether you suffer or escape, God is - God's sovereign will and wisdom and love. It is a great relief to know that there is a higher explanation for my pain or my pleasure than whether I have enough faith. Would it not be horrible to have to believe that on top of all your suffering you had to add this: it must be because I lack faith.
4. The common feature of the faith that escapes suffering and the faith that endures suffering is this: both of them involve believing that God himself is better than what life can give to you now, and better than what death can take from you later.
5. Those who love God more than life and suffer willingly awaiting something better than what this earth can offer, are God's great gifts to the world.
Many things in this life are utterly opposite from the way they seem. And here is one of them. When the precious children of God are permitted to suffer and be rejected and mistreated and go destitute, afflicted and ill-treated, God is giving a gift to the world. He is gracing the world. He is shedding his love abroad in the world. Because in those who suffer and die in the unshakable assurance of hope in God, the world is given a message and a picture: "The Lord himself is better than life. Turn, O turn and believe."
Who would have thought it - that the suffering are a gift to the world?""