“Of whom the world was not worthy” (Hebrews 11:38).
Faith accomplishes marvellous deliverances. The mouths of lions can do no injury to believing Daniel, for God sent His angel to shut the lions' mouths. The violence of fire, heated seven times furiously, is made of no effect by faith; the fourth man was with them because they believed. Others escaped the edge of the sword, as David escaped Saul's wrath, and Elijah that of Jezebel.
But faith not only has great works and great victories, it also has great trials, sufferings, and painful deaths. Hoping for a better resurrection, faithful Israelites in the times of the Maccabees endured agonizing tortures; others in faith endured stripes, imprisonments, protracted hardship, destitution, hunger and nakedness, constant suffering and dying. Some, like Zechariah, were stoned; others, as tradition says of Isaiah, were sawn asunder; others, like the prophets in the days of Jezebel, were put to death by the sword. And all lived and suffered by faith, looking forward unto the promises they were assured of, including “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10).
Let us learn from these bright examples. Faith works and suffers; faith is busy and energetic. It is our only strength and victory. In suffering we glorify God as well as in action; and in suffering it is only faith which grasps the promises and rests on the bosom of God in quiet and loving humility. Suffering is an honor God puts on His saints. To us it is given to suffer for Christ's sake. Let persecuted believers not doubt that they are precious in God's sight. They are the God-chosen nobility, of whom the world is not worthy.
—Condensed from The Epistle to the Hebrews by Adolph Saphir.
However great the persecution, to have God's presence in it is far more than compensation for it. —L.M. Grant