12 May A Christian’s Response to Terror, Part 2
Reports of death are everywhere these days. It seems as if everyday there is a fresh report of some group attacking another. We often find ourselves so disheartened by these reports that we avoid turning on the news altogether. We sigh and excuse ourselves by saying, “It’s all bad news.”
To see this suffering in the world makes us want to step back, to hold more tightly to our own piece of the world that seems to be under our control. We are surprised and appalled that people in the world could be so evil, that this world could be so broken.
To see this suffering in the world makes us want to step back, to hold more tightly to our own piece of the world that seems to be under our control.
Yet, these events shouldn’t come as a surprise to us. During his time on earth, Jesus spoke over and over again about the hardships we will have in this life if we choose to follow him. In John 16:33, He says, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Take heart in the midst of fear. Take heart in the face of death. Take heart when the answers are unclear. Take heart.
And yet, we are so quick to separate ourselves from the terrors of our brothers and sisters around the world. Instead of moving to embrace them, we consider how to better protect ourselves. We back away from their call for help. We ask ourselves if it’s safe to travel, rather than asking how we can meet their needs.
Instead of moving to embrace them, we consider how to better protect ourselves.
The truth is following Christ comes at a cost. At first glance, this seems like a pat answer to a much bigger issue. But the reality of this truth can mobilize us to move towards suffering with strength and clarity.
Consider the athlete. As he begins to train, he pursues a specific goal. His eventual reward is clear to him. However, he is not naive; he realizes that months or perhaps years of training and hardship are before him. He mentally prepares himself to face both pain and self-denial each day. He is not surprised by the opposition and tribulation that he’s going through because he knows it’s a part of the deal. He will not reach his goal without submitting himself to these challenges.
Some watch him struggle and want no part of it. They don’t understand his goal, and they aren’t willing to make the same sacrifices. They focus on the hardships instead of the final reward.
When our eyes are not on eternity, we will also falter in our commitment to the challenges of christian life. We become distracted by the right now, and we forget we must “be diligent so that you receive your full reward.” (2 John 1:8). The threat towards Christians worldwide is real. Their suffering is real. But their faith is also real. Rather than stepping back from these realities, let us step forward to stand beside our brothers and sisters, both figuratively and literally.
The threat towards Christians worldwide is real.
Let us choose to engage and be aware of the challenges and threats of majority-world Christians so that we can be committed to them in prayer. Let us be willing to give generously to them when the need arises. And let us be willing to continue to partner with and equip churches around the world in spite of, and even, because of the persecution they are facing.
May we be willing to lend strength while we are in the position to give it. “Your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need…As it is written, ‘Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.'”(2 Corinthians 8:14-15)