Q. When I read about the pain and suffering endured by past and present martyrs for the faith, I wonder how they bear it. While praying I never have to suffer to that degree, I do wonder if the Lord in His great mercy grants some supernatural means to help them to rise above the physical pain. Or is their faith much stronger than that of most of us? Your thoughts, please.
A. There’s an old saying that goes, “Maximum trial, maximum grace.” I’m sure it applies here. Also having read a work entitled “Foxe’s Book of Christian Martyrs”, I learned that early Christians counted it a great honor and blessing to give their lives for the Lord, and did so joyfully, singing and praising God through some of the most prolonged and painful deaths anyone can experience. That must also be the case with those who willingly give themselves over to death in His name today. A study of Hebrews 11 is very helpful in understanding their faith, especially Hebrews 11:32-40. The hope of a better resurrection mentioned in Hebrews 11:35 is a reference to the crown of life, which the Lord will award to those who suffer persecution for His sake (Rev. 2:10).