This is kind of an odd time in the history of man for communication. We can instantly speak with almost anyone anywhere in the world. In spite of knowing this we sometimes lose sight of the fact that when we post on our whole Bible blog and our Facebook page we have brothers and sisters in many other countries who have liked our pages and read what we write. When you live in the U.S. with all of the freedoms we have it is very easy to forget that things are not so great in other parts of the world. Especially for Christians.
We have battles here too, but they are pretty tame in comparison. We don’t have to worry about getting raped and shot on the way to the grocery store like Bernadette in Egypt does (unless we live in Chicago or Detroit). We don’t have to think much about what we’d do if somebody threatened to hang us unless we converted to Islam as one brother suffered recently. We don’t have to figure out if we can forgive the person who is cutting our throat or the throats of our children or grand children. Nobody here threatens us with economic or physical harm (well, maybe a little economic harm sometimes) for our faith like they do in many Muslim or communist countries. When we wear tassels on our pants we don’t have to think that they might make us a target for a pagan bullet. If we rest on Sabbath or observe the Passover here it only marks us as a little weird. The church might not be comfortable with it, but they aren’t plotting to burn down or blow up our houses. At least not yet.
But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. (Ecclesiastes 9:4, ESV)
So it seems a little lame for us to try and encourage those brothers and sisters who are suffering as we don’t have to at the moment. But it is not lame for God. Our Messiah Yeshua suffered as many of us have suffered since the beginning. He was (and is, and will be) victorious, and promises we will be too if we persevere. Everything is in His hands, and not even a sparrow falls to the ground without Him knowing about it. He sees, and He knows what is going on with His children. He will repay, and no unbeliever will escape His vengeance. I hope I can remember this and cling to it when it comes my turn.
Truly the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and shield. Our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you. (Psalm 33:18–22, NRSV)
We feel helpless to do anything to alleviate your terror and suffering, and “praying for you” just doesn’t seem adequate. But we do pray, and we do speak of you often to the Father. We give to certain organizations that help somewhat with some needs, and can perhaps get you to another country where it’s safer. (Consider Israel if you can’t make it to our country. As dumb as they are sometimes and even though they are at the center of the storm God will protect the apple of His eye.) Our God is bigger than all of this, and will supply all your needs. There is a plan, and a promise, and He will always be faithful and will never let us down.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:21–24, ESV)
It’s going to get worse for us all before it gets better, but it will get better. We win. This is our hope.