Monday, August 11, 2014

God is Bigger

Have you heard about what's going on in Iraq and all over the Middle East?

Christian children being beheaded, christian women being raped and shot, and christian men being hung. After all these years, injustice and evil brutality continue to haunt nations and people groups. Why? This is the question I find myself asking when I see pictures of limp bodies being piled on top of one another, when I see humans being treated like dirt because of what they believe in. How could all this be happening, this genocide?
Because of the lack of Christ. At the heart of these crimes is the separation of God’s children from Him. We are not meant to be separated from a relationship with our Creator, and in turn this causes despair and pain and sin. This separation from out Maker leads to selfishness, pride, and complete brokeness.

I have 8 bibles in my room. I go to church and youth group and freely am able to proclaim the name of the Lord anywhere I go, without fearing for my safety. I live in a society where freedom of speech and religion is expected. I am blessed beyond belief, while innocent believers are being killed and tortured and persecuted because they love and follow the Messiah.

The heartbreaking truth is that this kind of thing has been going on for a long time. My heart hurts for the victims, and my heart also hurts for the ISIS group and the government officials who are not doing anything to stop these situations. Yes, they deserve to be punished and stopped, and I am in no way trying to justify or degrade their crimes, but these people need Jesus. These people need Jesus just as much as everyone else. These sinners need to know this Love that is able to wipe away their hatred and foolishness and soften their hardened hearts.

So, maybe like me you've wondered what can we do about this issue? Well, the fact of the matter is that we can do nothing. We ourselves can do nothing about these injustices because the only One who can is Jesus Christ. That is why as Christians, we must cling to prayer and scripture at a time where our brothers and sisters are being persecuted and killed for standing firm in faith.

This passage in Isaiah is so beautifully relevant in this situation:
Isaiah 54:10-14 “Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with lapis lazuli. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace. In righteousness you will be established. Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.”

Luke 21:25-28 ‘On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At the time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

Romans 8:35 ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’

And so even as we grieve the injustices of these innocent Christians, we should also be overwhelmed with the hope that the Lord promises us in His word. In the midst of the pain and the persecution, God is still God. And I firmly believe that my God is bigger than even what is going on in Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, and all over the world. I believe that my God is bigger than the evilness of human sinners and the brutality of our actions.

Last night at youth group, we were so blessed by two Pakistani men who came to share with us how Jesus is touching lives through their ministry in their nation. They are evangelists who have faced undeniable persecution because of their love for the Lord, and because they fearlessly share His name with their muslim neighbors. Gurad, one of these men shared the gospel with a young girl who told her parents of the newfound hope she received in Jesus Christ, sharing that she wants them to know Him too! Her father was enraged, and he and a group of muslim men attacked Gurad and brutally cut off his hand. This man is only 25 years old, innocent and blameless, however attacked and wrongly hurt. The beauty in this story is that Gurad continues to passionately proclaim the name of our Savior, filled with a beautiful courage and strength that could only come from Him. I am so blessed by these guys, who despite their situations are so joyous and in love with their Heavenly Father, who has provided and continues to provide for them and their ministry. Gurad is here in Korea to receive a prosthetic arm, praise the Lord! As I talked and prayed with them, I was so blown away at how big our God is. How He can purpose people for His glory anywhere, even in the hardest, most broken places. That is the power of the gospel.

These are the stories that God uses to bring hope in the midst of the darkness. So we are called to prayer, and not to ignore these horrors just because they are hard to come to terms with and they make us sad or because we feel useless to do anything about them. We are called to live out and proclaim faith in our Savior who will one day redeem the wickedness of the world and bring us to everlasting peace in heaven with Him. To have faith in the Lord who tells us He will never leave or forsake us; to see this as truth and believe wholeheartedly that He is God over all things. Jesus doesn't just call us to trust in Him when it's easy, but at all times.

~Let His people find refuge in His name alone.~

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