Finding Joy

An additional meditation today for those that need a little extra. I’ve been troubled by the disparity between the coverage of the Muslim massacre in New Zealand and the Christian massacre in Africa. As you might notice, I can pinpoint where the Muslim massacre was because of the amount of coverage it has received. Not so with the Christian one. I think it was Nigeria, but I may be mistaken. The news has not been as forthcoming about he 120 Christians killed by Muslim militants. Jesus was certainly understating when He said “in this world you will have trouble.”

I don’t care what your denomination is. When Christians are attacked anywhere, it’s not because they are Lutherans or Pentecostals, it’s because of Christ. As one of our founding fathers once coined, “either we hang together, or we hang separately.”

Now I don’t agree with Lutherans, Pentecostals, or Baptists on certain points of doctrine. But if you attack my family, you are attacking me. I really don’t care if these Christians in Nigeria were Independent Christian Church like I am, whether they believed in the plan of salvation and baptism by immersion. It doesn’t matter if they believed in the Trinity or Modalism. They believed that Jesus Christ was able to save them. They believed the gospel, and I doubt that high theology entered into it. They were attacked because they believe in Jesus, as I do. They believed in the resurrection of the Son of God as I do. They were killed because they identified as Christian, as I do. Their death puts all of us on notice. Evil is real and it seeks to devour us, and it attacking the most vulnerable of us.

Wolves attack the weak and the sick. Both of the targets I’ve mentioned were vulnerable to attack and made for easy targets. I’m sorry that such a person attacked the Muslims. It an act of evil. But he was not by his own explanation a Christian. The militants that attacked the Christian congregation in Nigeria were muslim by their admission. Both are regrettable. One is a lone wolf. The other is part of a pack. I will let you decide which is which.

Is there any good in this? The meditation above was based on Habakkuk, who lamented that the enemy that attacked Israel was wicked, that God was using a wicked nation to chastise the people of Israel. Is God doing so today? Is God allowing His people, the Christians of Nigeria, to be attacked to chastise them? To chastise us all? Do we wealthy and well-off Christians in the west have an obligation to our brothers in the east? You might think so if you read Romans 15. If there is good in this, it may be to call to those asleep to awaken to the threat at our door. Our brothers are being murdered. Do you care?

I won’t advocate for a particular organization here, because there are several worthy ones. I advocate for those whose voices you cannot hear by reason of distance. In our day-to-day, we seldom think outside those in our circle of friends. May I ask that you at least pray for these brothers and sisters on the front lines? I don’t know what form their help will take, but I know the Lord is not slack concerning His promises.

Dear Lord, please help my brothers and sisters who are subjected to constant harassment and persecution. I pray for those families whose tragedy spans generations and have little peace. You are a mighty and all-seeing God. Even now, I know you are putting things in motion that will bring justice to all these murderers. But I pray that the sacrifice of your lambs would not be in vain, and that lives will be changed, saved by the grace and mercy through your Son, that even those who killed might receive saving grace. For our enemies are not of flesh and blood, but of the powers of darkness that seek to destroy your church, your bride, wherever she is. I pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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I've been in ministry in the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ for 20+ years. Finished my doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2015. Serve today as a Hospital Chaplain.

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