“… personal suffering is a more useful key, a more fruitful principle for opening up the world in thought and action than personal happiness.”
Reading these words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who spoke from intense first-hand experience on the value of personal suffering, I think about a friend in Southeast Asia. Phong is a member of a small minority unreached people group. He is also a believer, a pastor, and a church planter. Like Bonhoeffer before him, Phong suffers under an oppressive government because of his beliefs and his passion to share the love and freedom of Christ with those around him. Phong reluctantly shares about losing his job, being denied income opportunities because he is a Christian, and the numerous times police raided his home confiscating his Bibles and discipleship literature.
Like Bonhoeffer, Phong is not bitter about his treatment nor intimidated. Rather, he is using his personal suffering as a key to open up the hearts of those around him to Christ’s love for them.