“We’re not afraid of death because Jesus died for us. Of course we cry, but they’re tears of happiness, because we die for God.” – Sama Wadie, 32, his hand wrapped in a bandage, after attending Mass at Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad, where 51 people were killed last Sunday. (Source: New York Times as quoted in SOJOMAIL www.sojo.net – faith, politics, culture)
Last week’s news challenged my faith and stretched my trust in our Sovereign God. I found myself almost doubting! Like the Psalmist I watched the news report and wondered: “God, why do your people have to suffer the injustice of political violence?”
You heard the news and maybe even saw the reports on TV. Political militants entered Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church in Baghdad, Iraq during Sunday evening mass and murdered the priest. During the ensuing hours of intense negotiation while holding the nearly 100 congregants hostage, the terrorists threatened to “exterminate” Iraqi Christians if the authorities did not grant their demands. When negotiations went nowhere, security forces stormed the church and in the gunfire 51 people were killed.
My thoughts went immediately to my acquaintances and our Baptist brothers, Caco and Tonnee, of the Baptist church in Baghdad. I thought of our missions partner, Mazin Yako, who is planting a church in Dohuk (northern Iraq). They suffer injustice and persecution most every day because of their faith. Caco and Tonnee reported that their church in Baghdad had not only been threatened but that an undetonated bomb targeting the church had been found outside their facility. They actually have a “bomb-search” team that searches the premises before their services to make sure that they are secure.
In circumstances like these…I’m sure many of you have experienced or are familiar with similar situations in your home countries…I have to cling to the truths that secure my faith and strengthen my trust in our Sovereign God:
God’s Presence (Ps 73:22-23)—No matter what may come, God is with his people. He’s so close he takes us by the hand.
God’s Providence (Ps 73:24)—In the midst of injustice, God is guiding his people. He’s in control and can show us the way to go.
God’s Purpose (Ps 73:27)—In the end, God is working in and through his people. He’s at work in the world and his purpose of glory will prevail.
In the meantime, we will see and suffer injustice. We will cooperate with God’s work in us and through us to establish his Kingdom purpose. We will cling to faith and truth. We will be inspired by our brothers and sisters like Sama above, and we will conclude with the Psalmist: But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works. Psalms 73:28 (NASB)
Clinging to faith,
Scott Corwin, Pastor
(To read more about the persecuted church log on to www.opendoors-de.org.)
Sunday’s Sermon Slides: Almost Doubting