Thursday, August 3, 2017

Regardless | Internship Stories


“There was a deep inside of me, a happy of Jesus.”

Brown couch against my black notebook, so much of my American surroundings suddenly seemed trivial as the persecuted believer’s heartfelt words emerged in the video curriculum. Barely noticing the syntax, I absorbed the concept: a deep place inside, a joy only allowed because of Jesus.

It was week four of eight in my summer internship, and I felt like I was experiencing a crash-course in Christian life and ministry.

Within my department, I saw how strategy of spreading the word about persecution is seasoned with trust in God’s plan. "I had no idea." Comments issued as I introduced believers to the reality of persecution while exhibiting at a national conference: convicted and inspired. "Equipping to be storytellers of the persecuted." The words for the new program's booklet to engage the American church emerged, and I further read of people being impacted through those willing to give their life because of their commitment to Christ.

I was seeing, hearing, and reading about what God was doing in nations with unique challenges for Christians, and I was now watching the video testimony of one of such believers: “There was a deep happy because of Jesus.”

What does it meant to delight in the Lord, regardless?

The internship kept bringing this to mind, and my persecuted family shows me this: mind.

So much starts in the mind.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

When believers are faced with imprisonment, torture, and even death, they rely on the truth of the Bible. They cling to songs bringing to mind the sweet truths of Christ and His resurrection.

They engage with truth deeply, and their deep commitment to Christ is evidenced by a deep delight in the very character and essence of who He is. They delight in the reality of a God who is good, just, and holy. They fix their mind on this, despite externals.

Looking up at the persecuted believer on screen, I thought of how our external situations might be different but how we have internal similarities: we both may struggle with doubt, pride, anger, jealousy. We question.

However, just as each other, we each have a choice to fix our mind on praising the Delightful one, our Savior, despite not only external situations but internal thoughts. And this mental fixation? It compels us to action, for his love does not let us sit passively (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; James 1:22).

Entering the last days of my internship and looking into continuing in a life surrendered to Christ, I make it my prayer: Lord, let obedience to fix my mind on you be my heartbeat; let delighted praise of you be my speech.

There can be “a deep” inside of us, a joy because of our Savior – regardless.
© 2017 Deborah Hope Shining
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I definitely don't want this to be a monologue. What are your thoughts? Questions? Ideas?

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