After our trip to Romania, I was struck by what I learned. At one point, I wanted to say to one of the Romanians, “You really believe the Bible and obey it! We don’t have faith like this in America.” But I stopped myself.
It reminded me of the biblical account of the faith of the Centurion in Matthew 8:5-13 (ESV): When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.
It’s true that I saw an obedience to the Word of God that I RARELY see in Americans and that includes myself. Maybe that’s why we don’t see God work as much as we could in America – because of our disobedience and lack of faith?
We all say that the Bible is true but are we really trying to obey it and do what God says? Not too much. We are too comfortable and not urgent enough which brings me to my second most impacting thought: Romanian Christians are urgent about their faith!
Maybe they are motivated partly by the threat of communism coming back or something else like that (note: communism ended in 1989, not that long ago), but these believers are serious about their faith and they want to evangelize the lost and make disciples to see their kinsmen blessed! It was wonderful to see urgent, sober-minded believers who obey the Word of Christ.
We have these types of committed followers of Christ in America, too, and I love this country’s freedoms (though I honestly see many of them declining in days ahead) but I was greatly impacted by Romanian faith in a good way. It challenged me to be more urgent and serious in my walk with Christ.
-Mark (way too comfortable for my own good)