Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus (Revelation 12:17).
In the past couple of years it seems that our brothers and sisters in Christ -around the world- have been persecuted in increasing intensity and frequency. The ferocity of those who seek to extinguish the Light of Christ is hard to imagine, difficult to hear about, and nearly impossible to process.
My heart hurts for the families whose loved ones have been martyred for their Faith. There is nothing we in our “first world” settings can use to better understand their situations. We do not know the depth and breadth of brutal massacres, by the hundreds, just because of the decision to choose Christ in eternity over life without Him.
Yes, we have seen an uptick of brutality and persecution in America against those who profess Christ, but we truly cannot know what our brothers and sisters around the world have known for decades.
In response to Roseburg, Oregon and the shootings of believers many are outraged, crying out for protection, for someone to stand up and do something to protect our beliefs. While yes, here in America, we have the freedom of religion and ability to pray to whomever we choose, we tend to forget that this is not a Christian nation. In our past we have experienced freedoms like prayer in school, political leaders who led by Biblical example, and the knowledge that the God you sang about on Sunday was the same one your neighbor sang about. But that is not true today.
We as believers have grown complacent in our faith, grown comfortable in our “way of life” and now we are feeling the awakening of persecution, finger pointing, condemnation, and death. We are whining about our discomfort when we should be kneeling for strength to stand up under it.
Brothers and sisters, this world is not our home. Why else would we be dealing with these events? To remind us. Heaven is our real home. We are not to set up for eternity here, we are to prepare for eternity there.
Vance Havner wrote, “Jesus lived in this world and had nowhere to lay His head. He had a hard time here and left us a legacy of tribulation and suffering, and we must take our share of what is left in the fellowship of that suffering. This world is not our home. It is no friend of grace ‘to help us on to God.’ It is no more kindly disposed toward Jesus Christ than it ever was. He said it hated Him and would hate us. I hope we remember that when we sing at church so casually, “To the old rugged cross I will ever be true, its shame and reproach gladly bear.'” (Taken from Lord of What’s Left).
May we remember indeed and kneel once more for the strength to stand up under it.