“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11,12 “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.” I Corinthians 12:26,27
Yesterday the large All Saints Church in Peshawar Pakistan was concluding their services with the Lord’s Prayer when 2 Taliban suicide bombers arrived at their doorstep and detonated themselves. This ended the earthly lives of 81 followers of Jesus so far and injured well over 100 others. I wonder if they were praying the words of Jesus “and forgive those who sin against us”, when it happened? (Luke 11:4) I write you today with tears in my eyes as I think about these dear brothers and sisters in Christ who gave their lives as they worshiped the Lord Jesus Christ yesterday. They were men, women, and children who counted it far more important to glorify God in worship than to stay home in safety.
As 1Cor 12 says above, all the members of the Body of Christ should suffer with the other members in this time. Pray for the children who lost their mother, father, grandparents, uncles, cousins, and friends. Pray for the wives and husbands who lost their spouses, the mothers and fathers who lost their children, the dear friends who died an unjust death. Jesus said, Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you…for great is your reward in heaven! Jesus certainly knew the meaning of these words as He knew his own future when He said these words and He knew what earthly suffering is like by His own experiences. Yet, He looked beyond this life on earth and admonished us to consider eternal life in heaven where suffering is no more.
However, don’t forget that Jesus wept, when Mary came to him in tears that Lazarus had died and was placed in a tomb. Lazarus family was suffering greatly, grieving, and feeling great loss. Jesus, even though He knew He would raise Lazarus back to life, wept along with Mary’s family in their suffering. Today the Christians of Pakistan are hurting, they are grieving, they are feeling the unjust death of so many of their brothers and sisters in Christ. Suffer with them and lift them up to our Heavenly Father who loves them and cares for us as His own.
Yet hope remains because this is not the end of our brothers and sisters, Christ has assured us that He has prepared a place for us in heaven. These dear grandparents, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends are in paradise today bringing glory to God and great is their reward in heaven!
See also: Chasing Hope