When I received Faith Under Fire: Dramatic Stories of Christian Courage by Matthew Archbold I thought I already had a good idea regarding what it would cover. Figured it would focus extensively on the situation in the Middle East and elsewhere with the focused murder and persecution of Christians in those lands. While that is one aspect, this book is much broader than that important focus.
I found stories both familiar and ones I had not heard of. They follow the gamut from some form of persecution to martyrdom. Mostly they are stories of Christians living their faith in season and out of season. Stories of Christians who stepped in to problems situations to make them better. To fully give of themselves to others. The age of people chronicled in these stories also ranged from the young to the elderly.
Many of the stories are bittersweet and involve tragedy, yet the tragedy is not the final answer. Christianity has always been the way of the cross and Jesus told us the consequences of following him. While currently in the United States their is increasing persecution regarding religious liberty, it is still a soft persecution – even if disruptive to some people’s lives. It is how we live our faith in these circumstances and more severe ones that tell if we have really given our lives to Him.
Despite the bittersweet or tragedy, I found these witnesses to the faith encouraging. These stories are inspiring and remind us to turn to the Holy Spirit. That we are all called to be witnesses despite the circumstances. If we can live our faith fully with little or no pushback, then praise God. If we do receive pushback then praise God also in the spirit of Job’s words.
I also really enjoyed how the stories were told and framed together. This is not just some patchwork of news stories, but a result of research and interviews where possible.