I recently watched a documentary film about Israeli Heroine Shula Cohen. She was caught by the Lebanese Army when they found out she was an Israeli spy.
When she was captured she’d recently given birth to her 6th child. Her husband had no idea she’d been a spy for 12 years.
Shula Cohen – Israeli Hero
They tortured her. Pulled out her finger and toe nails. They tied her by the feet and hands and hung her upside down and whipped her. They’d stop every few minutes so a doctor could check and be sure she was still alive.
Then they’d start again.
The story is outright miraculous. It’s just one amazing example of how God continues to watch over the people of Israel.
Parts of the story are gruesome. But beautiful. With God’s help Shula saved her people, the Jews. Then with God’s help she was able to courageously live through 7 years of tortured imprisonment, almost all of that in solitary confinement.
Some of that story is told here in this video, much of it by Shula Cohen herself, courtesy of Tom Ivy and The Ivy Company.
This excerpt of “The Shula Cohen Story” from “Against All Odds: In Search of a Miracle” is a bit over 20 minutes long. That’s much longer than I usually post, but well worth the time to watch. Please note, because of some of the subject matter and dramatic segments I don’t recommend watching the video with your young or pre-teen children. Watch it yourself first, and then decide.
I’m a Wimp
Then there’s me. I’m a wimp.
Do any of these sound familiar?
- I couldn’t sleep the other night because I had forgotten to turn on my electric heating pad and my feet were cold.
- This morning I opened my fridge, which is stuffed to the gills, and I couldn’t find anything ‘good’ to eat.
- A headache gives me ‘permission’ to be grumpy.
- My depression gives me an ‘excuse’ to be nasty.
- PMS allows me to make bad choices and have something else to blame.
- My husband didn’t let me buy something, so now I’m going to hold a little grudge and pout for a few hours.
Not all of those examples are mine. But some of them are. Others I’ve heard within the last week or so. I don’t think I’m alone.
Jesus said suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance produces character. Character produces hope.
I guess I don’t have much character. Yet.
I’ve been thinking about the how of this. How can I suffer to produce this high quality character and hope?
I believe that one day I may be persecuted for my faith in Jesus. And if that persecution will look anything like Shula Cohen’s experience… well, I have a hard time seeing how I might make it through.
We hate suffering
I believe that as a Christian culture – and I’m one of the worst in this – we have unwittingly become lovers of pleasure.
We want our delicious food. We want our movies and video games. We want the distraction of sports and music.
We avoid anything unpleasant. We don’t take time to visit our grandparents and others of the aged generation. We avoid being politically incorrect because it might cause us harm, or put us in an awkward conversation.
We want recognition. We strive to look good. We worry more about our houses than our hearts.
We don’t give to the poor… or even to missionaries.
We think the money we have is ours. We forget to be thankful for what we have and speak badly of those who have more.
We help fund a $100 Billion porn industry but we can’t give our tithe to the church. We demand free health-care, and social assistance, yet drive by the street-corner beggar with arrogance.
We know of brutally persecuted Christians who are losing their families and lives and health to stand up for God but we forget to pray for them or talk about them. Instead we throw out the information and replace it with erotica novels or a little Disney.
We don’t call abortion murder because someone might not like us.. and that wouldn’t be pleasant. We don’t tell our neighbors about Jesus because we might offend them. We let our neighbors go to hell because we’re ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We’ve become wimps.
And I am no different.
In the last days
The Bible talks about this in 2 Tim. 3:1-5 (NIV):
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
Doesn’t that describe much of the church today? And we call ourselves Christians? Really?
Many people around us don’t come to church because they say we’re a bunch of hypocrites.
Well, maybe they’re right. That verse does say, after all… ‘Have nothing to do with them.’
But that can’t be it. There’s got to be more.
I have decided… and I know I will fail, I am a wimp… but my heart wants to find hope.
That hope comes from a character that has grown out of perseverance in suffering. And so I will.
I can start with very small things. Things like…
- Fasting for a meal.
- Accepting the accusations of others without replying.
- Reading my Bible instead of just another book.
- Losing sleep to spend time with my Savior.
- Giving away money to those who need it.
- Praying with tears for those in prison.
I’ll start. This life is short. Eternity is long.
Today I’m a wimp.
But I hope one day I will be a woman who loves God more, full of the power of God that leads to godliness.