With at least one new report each day of the kidnapping, torture, or death of Christians and other groups around the world, it is stunning how quickly reporters and government officials call for “normalcy,” “routine,” and a general position of “non-intimidation.” The tenets of crisis management dictate this sort of talk, of course. But what tends to get lost in the desire to “move on” from such incidents is the natural and absolute need to remember that God alone protects and provides.
‘Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” (Revelation 21:3-5)
These are beautiful and life-changing words for sure, but they are very difficult too. Not because we don’t believe them, but because we don’t know how to live them. Think about it like this:
While attentively sitting in a pew at Church or comfortably stretched out on your favorite chair at home, you can easily say to yourself: “Oh yes, Christ is my salvation. He will protect me and bring me into His kingdom in death. Yes. He is good and I love Him.” But how tough are these words sitting in an emergency room, no less because of the wounds you suffered were because you are a Christian?
Far too often when we face the most difficult circumstances in our lives, even if we pray, we tend to psychologically flee from God. While we are taught and believe that we must use human means to take care of ourselves and each other in times of suffering, it is also vitally important to remember that these means are limited and that God alone protects us and provides for us in our needs.
Thus, a vital component of living the gift of faith during the uneventful moments in our lives is to prepare spiritually, emotionally, and physically to put our entire self directly in the hands of God, especially when things go horribly, violently wrong. This is what St. Paul meant when he said: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
The curious reality is that nations can choose to heed these words too. St. John the Apostle recounts in the Book of Revelation that the Lord will heal all of the nations of the earth in the end. “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it, and its gates shall never be shut by day -- and there shall be no night there; they shall bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations” (Revelation 21: 22-26).
Let us pray that we remember God alone protects and provides.