Pastor J. H. Crowell, when about sixteen, shipped on a sailing vessel where he was the only Christian in a crew of twelve. Before leaving his mother he promised to meet her three times a day at the throne of grace, and so he regularly went below and prayed knowing that his mother was praying at the same time at home beside her bed.
The other crew members were furious over his praying and persecuted him severely. They threw wood at him and poured buckets of water over him, but they could not put out the fire in his soul.
Finally, they tied him to the mast and laid thirty-nine stripes on his back. Still he prayed on. At last, they tied a rope around him and threw him overboard. He swam as best he could, and when he took hold of the side of the ship, they pushed him off with a pole. When his strength gave way and he thought he would die, he called out: “Send my body to my mother and tell her I died for Jesus.”
The wrath of the angry sailors seemed finally to be exhausted and they pulled the young Christian up on the deck and left him there unconscious. Shortly after he revived, conviction began to seize his companions on the ship. Before night, two of them were saved. Within a week, everyone on board, including the captain, had been born again.
The persecution was difficult, but J. H. Crowell met it as a Christian, counting it joy to suffer for Christ. The Lord rewarded him with the conversion of his persecutors.
Can you rejoice in opportunities to suffer for the Lord? (See 2 Timothy 3:12.)