Today was a special service at our little mission. There was rejoicing, a time of prayer, and worship of the Most High. While we spent time in prayer specifically for the persecuted church, every part of our service, including the time of fellowship afterwards, was intended to bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Each person that came today woke up to a dreary, grey, overcast sky and drove in a vehicle in a country that freely allows us to travel. But still we came.
Each person that came today had the privilege of coming to a building where we have freedom to worship as we see fit and not having to hide in a cave, or in the forest, or out on a dreary plain just to worship without fear of being reported to the authorities. But still we entered.
Each person that came today had no thoughts of any news that might or might not be taking place around the world. But still we worshipped.
Each person that came today had the opportunity to have a better understanding of what the persecuted church experiences every day. But still we prayed.
Each person that came today was reminded that there is an eternity to look forward where there will be no sin, no tears, no dying, no fears, and only joy in the presence of the Savior. But still we sang.
Each person that came today heard the truth of Scripture being boldly proclaimed that Jesus Christ alone saves sinners. But still we listened.
Each person that came today left after service to gusts of wind blowing across the parking lot, and a sky that was clearing with beautiful sunshine. But still we left.
Each person that came today read the news this afternoon that while we were worshipping, there were others who were doing the same but who did not go home for the wickedness of the heart of man was made evident as several in a Baptist church in south Texas went out into eternity. But still we grieve.
Tonight and in the coming weeks, there will be much soul-searching by many who go to services. Many parents will have concern for their safety and that of their children. Many will wonder if it is safe to go and worship with other believers, or will more lives come to an end. Many church leaders will face the daunting task of determining what kind of security they believe is necessary to help provide protection for those who come.
Yet, through the difficulty of following the news, these things remain true. The dangers are real. The reasons why this young man chose to kill will remain unanswered because he went out to eternity where he faced God as Judge.
Every day across this world, there are millions of Christ followers who live in danger of being harmed or being killed. Millions understand the risks of coming together knowing that it could be their last week. From places like North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and many other countries, especially in the 10/40 window, there is the cry of the persecuted church. They are being harmed or killed simply because they have called on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
BUT still they went, still they entered, still they worshipped, still they prayed, still they sang, still they listened, still they left, and still they grieved.
The world is going to get worse. The Bible promises that this will be the case. Others will die for their faith. Others will have to determine whether dying for Christ is better than living for self. Others will have to decide if they will be bold for Christ and accept the martyr’s crown, or if they will deny the Christ who died for them and so forget that the servant is not above the Master.
What if tomorrow doesn’t take place like you think it will? What if tomorrow you are called to stand before God?
What if today happened to you?