Never to suffer would never to have been blessed. – Edgar Allan Poe
When I hear of the persecution and execution of our brothers and sisters around the world, only one prayer comes to mind: Jesus, come back. It’s the most honest and powerful prayer I know to pray.
But when I step away from the news and continue in my everyday American life, I don’t find the need to pray that prayer. I have no complaints of suffering. I’m not hiding out to preach the Gospel. I’m not threatened with the loss of life unless I recant Jesus. Life is comfortable.
And yet comfort can quickly usher us into the realm of apathy. If Jesus comes back, great! If not, we’re feeling pretty good.
I’ve met many people over the years who, when faced with the fact that comfort isn’t global, ask the question, “If Jesus is really in charge, why does He let His children suffer?” Asked differently, “Is Jesus actually in charge?”
Yes, He is. Repeatedly in Scripture we are reminded of Jesus’ position and authority:
“To which of the angels did God ever say, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’?” - (Hebrews 1:13)
Jesus is at the right hand of the Father – a position of power and authority. But if He has the ability and the authority, then why doesn’t He stop our suffering?
The answer to our question is found in the verse above – in the small word until. Jesus sits at the right hand of God until His enemies become a footstool under His feet. This small word indicates a period of time between Jesus sitting and the Father making a footstool of His enemies.
And so it seems that Jesus doesn’t stop evil because we are living in the period of “until.” This is an intellectually satisfying answer, but what about our brothers and sisters who are living in the reality of persecution? There must be more for them than an answer that tickles the mind.
King of kings, refresh my spirit with Your Spirit’s invitation to pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering because of their faith in You. Strengthen them so they can endure these days of “until.” Show them glory, give them peace, and bring them to my mind often. Amen.
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