NASHVILLE, TN – Pastor Andrew Brunson and his wife, Norine, spent 23 years serving the Lord in Turkey, hosting a house of prayer. He and Norine were taken into custody, falsely accused of terrorism, in October 2016. Norine was released and returned to North Carolina. Andrew spent the next two years in a Turkish prison.
After much political pressure, prayer, and divine intervention, Brunson was freed in October 2018. On February 25, 2020, pastor Brunson shared his story and his heart with the 3,000+ attendees at the NRB’s National Convention in Nashville. He focused on the fear that comes with persecution and his concerns about how American Christians may face the almost certain persecution and the increasingly evident hostility of unbelievers for the true believers and followers of Jesus Christ.
Will You Be Afraid?
Speaking of his own experience, Brunson readily admitted that he had been afraid during his time in custody. He reminded listeners that it is reasonable to be afraid.
“I was actually very afraid. There are things to be afraid of.”
(Author’s comment: The phrases “Fear not,” “be not afraid,” or similar ones appear 365 times in the Bible. That should remind us that the Lord understands that we are, by nature, fearful. He is our safe harbor from fears real or imagined.)
What Will You Do When You Are Afraid?
Brunson posed the proposition that the issue is what we do when we are afraid.
“We need to prepare ourselves. We need to make decisions now about our commitment to Jesus. Because otherwise, the natural tendency, when difficulty comes, is to fear. And when we’re afraid, the natural instinct is to run away, to compromise, to remove the reason for the opposition, the hostility toward us.”
Brunson’s mother visited during his stay in prison. She reminded him that there was a “very long line” of men and women who have suffered for their faith in Christ. She helped him to realize that he was in that line and that it was his turn. The question was, would he remain faithful and courageous despite his fear? It is a question we must ask ourselves.
How Can We Remain Faithful When We Are Afraid?
Fundamentally, Brunson believes that, while faith is about trusting Christ, loving Him is the basis for standing despite our fears. He made the case that loving Jesus
“Our tendency is not to grow in love for God. It is actually to diminish in love for God,” he said. “Love has to be nurtured. We have to be very intentional about loving God. Loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. That means loving Him with everything I am and everything I have.”
Sadly, Brunson observed that God has many servants, but few lovers.
“A lover will endure much more than a servant. A lover will go much further. … The heart attitude makes all the difference.”
Let’s take brother Brunson’s experience and insight to heart. Remember that when Jesus met Peter after His resurrection, He did ask Peter if he trusted Him. He asked if Peter loved Him. He knew that it would require love for Peter to endure the road that lay ahead. Thus, Brunson concluded,
“He is worthy, and He is worth it. Dedicate yourself to a pursuit of God’s heart.”
To read more about pastor Brunson’s backstory on Missions Box, go here.
- NRB, Andrew Brunson at NRB 2020: He Is Worthy, and He Is Worth It
- The Christian Post, Andrew Brunson: US ‘increasingly hostile’ to Christianity; following Jesus will come at personal risk
- The Tennessean, Could being Christian in the U.S. become risky? Freed American pastor Andrew Brunson thinks so.
- U.S. Department of State, Flickr (Public Domain)