Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 3:10
My heart has been so overwhelmed the last few weeks with all of the chaos around the world and the uprising of the Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL). The brutality they have sanctioned on Christians in Iraq and Syria, as well as other places in Europe and The Middle East are enough to make one with the strongest resolve grow faint. Just a few weeks ago they beheaded American Journalist, James Foley, while today they have acted on their promise to behead Steven Sotloff.
James Foley and Steven Sotloff have been ripped from the hearts of their families by a brutal, evil and heinous force that we have never been confronted with in our country. Even during the atrocities of World War II and Adolph Hitler, we were somewhat sheltered due to the time it took to circulate to the world what was happening to the Jewish People in Nazi Germany. The horror that they faced was just as heinous, but we were shielded from it, for the most part. My prayers go forth for the families of Mr. Foley and Mr. Sotloff and the journey they are now having to walk through because of terror.
I feel that we have come to the end of an age in America…we no longer have the idyllic America that my parents raised me in and that of which Norman Rockwell painted. Each day my heart is ripped out of my chest by the headlines which promise me that the greatest storm I have ever witnessed is on the horizon and I need to baton down the hatches. I do not have the luxury of burying my head in the sand, pretending that if I ignore what is going on in the world, it won’t happen to me. Innocence is being, and has been, stripped from our minds and we are confronted with the total death of morals, brotherly love and almost hope. Has hope been murdered? I read that the Christians in Iraq were questioning if God loved them…had He abandoned them…what had they done that God would punish them by allowing IS to drive them from their homes and kill them because they will not convert to Islam. Those profound questions from my brothers and sisters in Christ have caused me to ask that question, “Has hope been murdered?”.
I not only believe, but I know that the answer to the question is an emphatic “NO!” Hope has not been murdered…it is not dead and moreover, GOD IS NOT DEAD. God is also not oblivious to the persecution that is going on around the world to His children. Jesus warned us that we would be persecuted for His Names’ sake.
Furthermore, Jesus promised us that He would also be there with us through it all. In Hebrews 13:5 Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” That, beloved, is a promise with absolute certainty! His Holy Eyes see the persecution of the saints and the unholy acts of those who persecute them. The persecution will not go unpunished by our Holy God. He will bless the saints according to His great riches in Glory.
It is so easy to be overwhelmed and faint with all that we are seeing…but hold on, remain faithful and DO NOT LOSE HEART. God is not dead….He is not unaware and He has not forsaken the righteous. All of these things must come to pass…and He promises in Revelation 22:20, “Surely I am coming quickly.” I pray God’s strength and peace over you.