Palasan's Wife

"Christian": it's a wonderful name that's been given to us. It's a tremendous privilege to bear such a name. Don't ever take it for granted, dear ones. And don't let this world make you ashamed of it either! Don't search for a synonym. Don't mumble when you say it, or clear your throat. Just speak right up—head high—and identify yourself: you're a Christian! 

If you are bold enough to bear that name, then you are doing what true believers have done since day one. In Acts 11:26 we read that: "the disciples were first to be called Christians in Antioch."  

The name instantly began to spread. When Paul stood in chains preaching his great message of redemption, even wicked King Agrippa was familiar with the name. "You almost persuade me to become a Christian," he said. (Acts 26: 27) We've been bearing that wonderful name ever since. 

Not that it's ever been an easy thing to do!  Peter wrote to his new believers, scattered all over Asia Minor: "If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name." 1 Pet 4: 16  We're being told to do the same. 

A wonderful Christian pastor in Beirut, Lebanon—L. Nishan Bakalian is his name—writes about something he discovered in the little town of Stepanavan, Armenia. 

"I met a woman there, in the little town," he writes, "whom everyone simply called 'Palasan's Wife'". Surely she had a name of her own—Armenian culture is not that repressive—but Pastor Bakalian didn't know it; never heard it; because no one used it. 

The radical feminists would have seizures, of course. But that's because they don't know the whole story. (Or...maybe they'd have seizures anyway!) 

Back in 1988, when the great Armenian earthquake struck with such devastating force (6.8 on the Richter), the town of Stepanavan was one of the hardest hit. 

Minutes after the very first tremor, Palasan, the woman's husband, left work and raced down to the elementary school where his little boy attended. 

The school building was falling apart; ceilings were collapsing, walls that weren't already toppled were dangerously leaning. Palasan raced inside and began grabbing every child he could find, pushing them to safety. He herded them downstairs and through darkened hallways, sheltering them from falling debris. After lifting them through windows to safety, he would head back in to go after more kids—as many as he could find. All told, Palasan rescued 28 children. 

He never found his own son; and later when the aftershocks struck again, the entire building finally collapsed and Palasan lost his life. 

From that day on, the people of Stepanavan honored this man who had rescued their kids! They honored his young widow by calling her "Palasan's Wife". To everyone's mind, there was nothing but glory in a name like that! 

Do you know? Sometimes a person's greatest honor has nothing to do with who he is or what she has achieved, and everything to do with just being related! 

That is even truer when it comes to the believer! The highest honor of any believer is simply bearing the Name of his Savior! Letting it be known that he belongs to Jesus, the One who rescued us all from the ruins! 

Listen, dear family. There are plenty of 'secret Christians' in the world these days, and not one of them is needed! Don't be one of them! Our Bible makes it perfectly clear that what this world needs is the real thing; regardless of the cost!  "Even if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name." 

So "bear the name", dear faithful one! And bear it well. 

In spite of the slander and opposition, bear the Name! 

No matter how unpopular it might make you: bear the Name! 

In spite of the hypocrites, phony Christians, spurious churches: bear the Name! 

In the face of overwhelming cultural forces: bear the Name! 

In spite of the suffering: bear the Name. 

Christians in the Muslim world are doing it well these days, don't you think? And at such a high cost too! They should never be doing so alone! 

You're a Christian! Stand firm! Speak up! Bear the Name of the One who has so marvelously rescued you! 

Love worshipping with you every week. 

See you Sunday!           RAS

Courtney's Pharmacy
Kneeling in the Snow