There is something I have to do four weeks from now that I have been afraid of. Brit Hume's outspokenness for the gospel on Sunday has given me the courage to go ahead. It works on me like the Apostle Paul said it would. When Christians see a brother get persecuted for the gospel, this increases rather than decreases their boldness:
"I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. Most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear" (Philippians 1:12-14).
The reason for this counterintuitive phenomenon is spiritual and not exhaustively plumbed by the human mind. Nevertheless, there are some intelligible things we can say. One is that we notice that the sky didn't fall. I don't mean that there weren't ugly repercussions, or that the online chat hosted by The Washington Post's Tom Shales did not repeatedly call for Hume's resignation (and sound like they would prefer his beheading). I don't mean that Mr. Hume's email is not dripping with venom.
I just mean we find out that these things don't kill us after all. There is life after persecution. More than that: There is life in persecution. Mr. Hume will have good and bad moments, but we all have good and bad moments, whether we speak out for Christ or not. Like C.S. Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed:
"One never meets just Cancer, or War, or Unhappiness (or Happiness). One only meets each hour or moment that comes. All manner of ups and downs. Many bad spots in our best times, many good times in our worst. One never gets the total impact of what we call 'the thing itself.'"
God's mercies are new every morning in any case.
This is why the rest of us are made braver. We see that persecution is survivable. We even find ourselves envying (in a righteous way---Romans 11:11) a man who has done the thing, and is free. He has faced his fears (if he had any on the drive to the studio) and so they no longer have power over him. Their bark is worse than their bite, which only the doers of God's Word can know. Those who hold on to worldly goods and reputation are controlled by them; those who let them go end up strangely elated:
"You joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one" (Hebrews 10:34).
Good for you, Mr. Hume. You have confessed Christ before men, and now Christ will confess you before his Father (Matthew 10:32). Also, you have signaled the return of the Lord and the recreation of all things, "for the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God" (Romans 8:19). Now one more son of God has been revealed.
To hear commentaries by Andrée Seu, click here.