Can't God Do a Better Job of Protecting Us?
God can of course fully protect His people from death and persecution. So why doesn’t He do a better job of it? Why are so many Christians getting killed? Has His strategy for His church gone haywire? Are things out of control?
No, everything’s right on schedule.
Think about it. God could have kept Jesus from getting crucified. When He was arrested, Jesus announced that His Father could instantly send twelve legions of angels to His side. That’s about 72,000 blazing angel-warriors with swords of fire. Plenty to roast every enemy in sight.
To bring on this angel army, all Jesus had to do was ask His Father for them.
So why didn’t He?
Right on the spot, Jesus explained it: “If I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled?” In that moment for Jesus there was something more important than staying alive.
Jesus was fulfilling God’s plan. A perfect plan laid out in Scripture. Jesus knew that this plan called for the Son of God to be killed. And in loving obedience to His Father, Jesus yielded to it.
What about God’s plan for us—especially as it relates to dying for our faith? Do the Scriptures offer a clue?
More than a clue. All over the Bible you’ll find plenty of reminders that Christians are called to suffer for Christ— to share in His sufferings.
And there’s more. In Revelation 6, we glimpse an amazing scene in heaven. Those who have already been killed for Christ are crying out to God. They’re asking Him how much longer it will be till all this is over and God judges the world.
The answer they get should make you and I pause and think. God told them they needed “to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters—their fellow servants of Jesus—had been martyred.” Martyred. I don’t have to tell you that He’s talking about being killed for Christ.
God’s plan for this world calls for a certain number of Christians to be put to death for the sake of Jesus. That number is not small. It’s huge. Enormous. God knows exactly who’s on that list, and how many names there are. Until that number’s reached—until all the names are checked off—the killing will continue.
And we haven’t reached it yet. We’re still not there. Even though tens of millions of Christians down through the centuries have already been put to death. Even though, in the twenty-first century, 160,000 more names get checked off on the list every year.
That’s God’s purpose. That’s His amazing, mysterious plan. And it’s all part of the good and perfect story He’s written for us, a story that will make Him more famous than ever when we finally see how it all plays out.
When Christians die, God hasn’t lost control. When they die in greater numbers than ever before, it’s not because His design for world history has been sidetracked. No way.
Rather, it’s because His plan is being fulfilled now more than ever.
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