The Silent Warriors

by Terri Gillespie

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:10, TLV

Who are the silent warriors and what do they have to do with this verse? The definition of persecution is a program or campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate people based on their membership in a religious, ethnic, social, or racial group: i.e., the persecutions of Christians by the Romans. That seems straightforward. I’m guessing most of us haven’t been subjected to campaigns to annihilate or subjugate us because of our faith.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.” (vs. 11, TLV)

This morning, I was thinking, persecutions are not limited to events — systematic though they may be. Persecution could also include illness, disabilities, and other physical and mental struggles. We have several examples of that in Scripture. Job, for one, was persecuted because his faith was exemplary (see Job 2). God allowed Satan to destroy what was Job’s, including his family, livestock, and eventually his health. But in the end, Job came through the trial giving glory to God.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, TLV)

The enemy wants to rob, steal, and destroy (John 10:10), and this includes our bodies and our minds. He will use people, famine, war, disease, whatever he can. Whether we’re hit by a drunk driver to live a life in a wheelchair, or because of a fallen world we get cancer or some other disease, it may well be Satan robbing, stealing, and destroying. Isn’t that persecution?

What about believers with a chemical imbalance in the brain causing inappropriate behaviors that ostracize them from church? Aren’t these attempts to destroy? Or, at least, subjugate our bodies and minds to a life of trials and tribulations? To try to rob us of our peace and faith?

A few months ago, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

This woman taught believers about Jewish roots for over forty years in rural Missouri, mentored and discipled women who have gone on to do great exploits for the Lord. She worked with Dr. C. Everett Koop (America’s Surgeon General, 1982-1989) to get warning labels on smokeless tobacco because children were disfigured and dying of mouth cancer. She was even a spy for the Jewish Anti-Defamation League to identify white supremists who had infiltrated legitimate Christian organizations. But today, she now has difficulty reading her beloved, worn Bible. That’s robbing, stealing, and destroying — that’s persecution.

Many of the great men and women of faith, like Richard Wurmbrand and Corrie ten Boom, who were persecuted and tortured in their earlier years, were again persecuted and tortured in their mind and body in their later years. Dementia, strokes, Alzheimer —still on earth, but not really.

As I think about my mother, I try to reconcile the unreconcilable. I can’t go down the “Why” road — it goes nowhere. Her body and soul are becoming more and more confused. But does her spirit — that part of God’s Spirit inside her — rejoice and know she is blessed even in this reviling humiliation? I have to believe the answer to that question is, “Yes!”

Who is the one who condemns? It is Messiah, who died, and moreover was raised, and is now at the right hand of God and who also intercedes for us. (Romans 8:34 TLV)

Our Messiah condemns all spiritual powers and worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. He not only condemns them but intercedes on our behalf in heaven. The Holy Spirit within us connects with that intercession.

So, what does that mean to us? It means those sitting in care facilities after years of service for the Lord, are still silently serving as warriors for our Messiah. How? I don’t know how precisely, but I believe they are.

As my mother journeys this treacherous road, I need to remember that she was and still is a warrior. As her daughter I will continue to pray and speak the words of life she has spoken to others and to me, even when her mind doesn’t remember or understand. But her spirit will, her warrior spirit.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, because of His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, released in October. https://authorterrigillespie.com/terri-gillespie-books/sweet-rivalry/

Sweet Rivalry, the story of twins separated by a troubled mother. One twin is lovingly raised by her grandmother who owns a small-town bakery. The other sister is raised by an addict mother. They discover one another through a televised baking competition. But will rivalry break them apart again?

Join the conversation: Are you a caretaker for a silent warrior?

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10 thoughts on “The Silent Warriors

  1. My mother came to Christ late in life. She radically changed 180 degrees, and threw the next 20 years of her life into evangelism. Several months before her death she had a massive stroke that left her unable to communicate or recognize family or friends, and also became very hostile. However, when we or the nursing staff read The Word to her or sang and played hymns, a sweet spirit and calmness overcame her. I so agree with Terri that our spirit does not get dementia or Alzheimers. Thank you for this encouraging post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Penelope. I sympathize and emphasize and truly appreciate your encouragement. Yes, your mom was a warrior!

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  2. What a beautiful tribute to your mom, Terri. And such an encouragement for each of us as we think of how whatever trial/”persecution” we are facing is another opportunity for glorifying God. And maybe some day someone will refer back to something we did in His service. Even if not, we know God takes notice of every single representation of Him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen, Kathy. I knew a woman in our congregation with MS who was our prayer warrior until the LORD took her home.

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  3. Thanks, Terri. Yes, persecution is real. My husband and I faced it, and now he lives with PTSD because of what was done to him because of his faith in Jesus and the stand he took for Christ. But you know, neither of us has ever asked “why?” My family was killed in a car accident when I was 8. I learned early about death. Children usually do not ask “why.” Because of that loss, I learned at an early age to accept whatever comes in life, even when it is hard. It has made crushing loss survivable for me, because I learned to trust God, no matter what. Like Job. Anyway, thanks for the devotional, Terri. It was good. I related.

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  4. Oh my goodness, Sheri, you have had more than your share of persecution by the destroyer. But look how GOD has used you. I have been so blessed by your devotions.

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  5. This touched me on so many levels. My father had dementia but I mainly identified with my son with Down syndrome & several medical issues and a communication disorder yet Jay truly lives in a spiritual realm. He loves in a deeper way than most. His heart & soul praise the Father daily with song & dance. He tells me about angels & loves Jesus with all his heart & still throws kisses to his daddy, my wonderful husband, in heaven.

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  6. Louise, your story inspires me. There’s a whole spiritual realm most of us are never privy to because . . . well, because we think and do too much. Jay and those with medical and mental disorders have different priorities. Surrounding them with God’s word, worship, and love grounds them in that special place we won’t see until heaven. Thank you. Hugs to Jay and you.

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