Dear Reader, Ever since I saw the headless body of a young child from Iraq I have been troubled in my spirit. This devotion is the outcome of many hours of thought. I dedicate these words to all the innocent Christians, both past and present, who have refused to deny God and died for His glory. Please continue to pray for the afflicted and innocent.
You will find this devotion in my upcoming book …. FACING ADVERSITY WITH WISDOM, PRAISE, AND PROMISES.
“It has become a settled principle that nothing which is good and true can be destroyed by persecution, but that the effect ultimately is to establish more firmly, and to spread more widely, that which it was designed to overthrow. It has long since passed into a proverb that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”~ Albert Barnes
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25 (NIV)
Should we ever find ourselves unjustly persecuted for Christ, we have the blessed assurance of His strength and power in the midst of our adversity. He will provide everything we need, at all times, and in every circumstance. This includes a peace that transcends all understanding. This supernatural peace is capable of carrying one through atrocities and barbarity.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (NKJV)
If we cast aside our fear of man and trust in God’s promise to keep us safe, is it possible for harm to still reach out and touch us? Yes, evidently so, if you consider all the Christian martyrs from the past and present. Unwarranted suffering CAN touch a believer (Consider the book of JOB) but only with God’s permission. We are not privy to the behind the scenes drama playing out in heaven. We do not know all the facts.
What we DO have is knowledge and faith. I speak of the revelation knowledge that comes directly from the living Word of God. It testifies that God is incapable of lying. Within the Bible we read how God how He is the very definition of love. Our faith tells us to remain steadfast, even when we do not understand why things must occur.
How then is God demonstrating His love to the Christian children of Iraq suffering atrocities for His name’s sake? What protection did God provide the men and women who have already lost their heads because they refused to deny Jesus? Did they not put their trust in God and lay aside their fear of man?
When genocide and undeniable evil runs ramped in the world, hearts will call out to God questioning His love and purpose. Why permit such monstrous suffering, especially injuries directly affecting young and innocent children? Certainly children are not born for the mere amusement of mass murders.
Perhaps we can find some understanding by amending our thinking. Will you consider a different perspective for a moment? Is it possible God has allowed cruelty and torment for some higher purpose He has yet to reveal? Could He have a plan that eventually procures an amazing victory and witness, one that increases the citizenship of heaven but at the cost of some of His most precious children?
“Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has taught Him?” Isaiah 40:13 (NKJV)
Although our spirits cry out for the innocent dead in Christ, we must yet hold on to our hope in Jesus. God is not unjust. He will repay our oppressors for their sins. He does not turn a blind eye to injustices and deeply cares for His people. However, we must also continue to trust in His goodness.
“He will repay them for their sinsand destroy them for their wickedness;the Lord our God will destroy them.” Psalm 94:23 (NIV)
Jesus has waited a long time for His bride. He is long suffering and patient beyond all comprehension. In turn, He asks us to be patient. Our bridegroom is making Himself ready for His glorious and promised return, but there are still some preparations that require His attention. The church, His most beloved bride, also needs to adjust her veil and make herself presentable. There is still much she must do before the marriage feast can occur.
And so, dear church, will you trust God with your whole heart? Will you stop leaning into your own understanding? We cannot comprehend His ways for they really are much higher than our own, and His thoughts are not yet within our grasp. He will return for us, but not before every saint predestined to partake is the marriage supper has been saved. How He makes this happen is still a mystery. If it requires the death of some of His most precious and innocent of lambs, the Bride must trust His love for her and keep the oil in her lamp in a constant state of readiness.
CONTEMPLATE THESE SCRIPTURES AND PRAY FOR THE PERSECUTED
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 (NKJV)
Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.” Proverbs 20:22 (NKJV)
“I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of the son of a man who will be made like grass?” Isaiah 51:12-13 (NKJV)