The recent senseless destruction leveled against a gentle Christian congregation has left our nation stunned. Tremendous questions that are difficult to answer emerge?
Why would God allow this to happen?
What motivates a person to be so full of hate that they would do such a thing?
The tragic way that death comes; whether at the hands of a lone deranged lunatic, or a band of Isis fighters, causes us to recoil. The level of hatred and evil is intense today, and according to Jesus, will be on the increase.
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold . . .” (Matthew 24:12 New International Version)
When these questions come to mind, we find the answers are fleeting. So, the Christian responds by doing what they have been instructed by their God to do, and that is to pray.
We call out to God asking Him those questions; we call out to God for extra grace to forgive those who would harm us. We call out to God on behalf of those who have suffered heart-wrenching loss. We call out to God!
Our public, prayerful response, often brings a swift and heartless rebuke from people who have no faith, no God, and no hope.
We are mocked on account of our faith, our prayers, and our forgiving heart. Pundits take to the stage and scoff at our backward, silly ways. They shout out
“Where is your God?” Where was He when the man came and shot up the church? Where is your God now?
Those who are faithful to Christ know exactly where God was and what He is doing. He is on a mission to redeem a broken and fallen world. We know that those who have come to Jesus by faith are redeemed, rescued and brought into the family of God.
These rescued ones have been given everlasting life and at the moment of death are immediately in the presence of God Himself.
So, what are we to do about the ugly attacks on our Christian character and our foolish praying to an unseen God? I have seen dozens of Christians take to Facebook and other social media platforms and they enter into a debate; trying to reason with those who would mock them. It is really quite unfruitful to do this.
I have witnessed some Christians become defensive and rude, even getting crude in statements to those who would condemn their faith.
Jesus reveals how we should react when we are mocked and ridiculed on account of following Him, and it is quite different than what I see taking place today.
Jesus said something amazing about this . . .
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
The word Greek word “agalliaō” which we translate rejoice, literally means to “jump for joy.” So when in the course of your journey with Jesus, you are being degraded by a mocker, a hater, or a persecutor, you ought not to feel awful about it; but rather you might consider jumping high and clicking your heels! Go on . . . dance a little!
Go ahead and shout “Praise the Lord” go on and celebrate, because according to Jesus your reward is outstanding!
Persecution, while not pleasant at the time, reveals to whom you truly belong!
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”