The Joy of Sacrifice


“Adversity is unavoidable in life, but it does not necessitate defeat. The Word of God never promises Jesus followers a comfortable and secure life. It promises that, despite the inevitable storms of life, God is bigger than such storms. ‘In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33).”[1]

Adversity. Sacrifice. Tribulation. From the world’s perspective these words are devoid of hope. However, this is not the case for thousands of Christ followers around the world. They not only view trials as honorable sacrifices, but they embrace them with joy knowing that the Lord is on their side. Whether God leads them to escape or comforts them until the end, their joy is real and encourages others to ask themselves, “Who is this Christ?”

The Voice of the Martyrs recently released a book called I Am N: Inspiring Stories of Christians Facing Islamic Extremism. As I was reading story after story the other day, I knew I had to share and encourage you to read this book. With the way Western culture is right now, political correctness has become more important than truth. People are criticized or even persecuted for saying anything negative about Islam, and the media only reinforces such actions. I Am N cuts through all the facades and focuses on real people with real stories of salvation, grace, persecution, and sacrifice.

We are the body of Christ called to uplift our brothers and sisters around the world. The stories in this book provide insight into what has been escalating over the last decade in the Middle East and Africa. These are people who either grew up Muslim or grew up in a Muslim culture and were without hope. The love of God and His mercy drew them to their knees knowing that trials would be the result. Like the book of Acts, their stories illustrate how God is being glorified even in the midst of some of the most heinous situations. Disowned by their families, beaten, tortured, imprisoned, they have persevered, some even unto death. I am amazed by the strength and courage of these men, women, and children, which they attribute to the Lord. What is even more inspiring is their forgiveness. Forgiveness for those who imprisoned them. Forgiveness for those who tortured them. Forgiveness for those who beheaded children to punish the parents’ decision to follow Christ. They bless when they are cursed. They spread the gospel knowing the cost. As a result, even persecutors (like Paul) have come to know the love of God.

These beautiful Christ followers have accepted that their lives will be hard because that’s exactly what Jesus said it would be. They follow because Christ is their reward. Let us praise God for using them mightily in the darkest places of the world. May we be steadfast and ready to give up everything for our Savior and bring light to those without hope!

Chosen Sacrifice (Inspired by reading these stories)

In the midst of doubt

You have revived me.

In my moment of fear

You have given me peace.

You have shown me the beauty

Of the cost,

The result of wanting more

Of You—

Only You.

I can hear the joy of the persecuted,

Of those ready to meet You.

I stand in awe of their courage,

Their insatiable need to speak the name

Above all names, Jesus.

Hope is only found in Him.

True life is from Him alone.

“To live is Christ;

To die is gain”—

The slogan of the persecuted,

The embraced gift,

The chosen sacrifice.


I am N: Inspiring Stories of Christians Facing Islamic Extremism can be purchased at at:

Or at The Voice of the Martyrs website:


©Lauren Heiligenthal

[1] The Voice of the Martyrs, I Am N: Inspiring Stories of Christians Facing Islamic Extremists (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2016), Kindle edition Location 1639.

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