They Cry in Silence Jan/Feb 2015
Those of you who regularly follow persecution news may find it gets hard to read after a while. In response to reader requests on how to deal with so much horrific information, I’ll share how I handle it.
The horror of some of the stories, along with the sense of helplessness they leave in their wake, can be wearying. I’ve heard many a reader sigh that he just doesn’t want to read it anymore; it’s too depressing. Imagine what it’s like, then, for a journalist to write about and edit it for 14 years.
The incessant flow of bad news has led me to the only thing that can parry the effect of the continual buffeting of the soul: giving it over to God. Sometimes, when my 19-month-old daughter falls asleep in my arms, I pray for parents in Nigeria whose children have been slain in their beds by Muslim extremists. When my 4-year-old son cries after falling down, I’m reminded to send up a prayer later for children in Somalia who cry out for mothers and fathers lost to murderous Islamists.
A slight chill wind might lead me to pray for Christians in North Korean labor camps who suffer icy temperatures day and night without adequate food, clothing, or medicines.
When Christians suffer for their faith as the apostle Paul noted in 2 Corinthians 4:17, it prepares them for an eternal weight of glory. Jesus told the apostle Peter that upon such faith He would build His church (Mt. 16:18).
And upon that foundation we can place the biblical authors’ more soulful assertions that God is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3). Thus we can pray that the Lord console with His presence those who mourn.
Paul also said in 2 Corinthians 4:14, “He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus.” Believers who survive persecution ultimately will be brought into the Lord’s presence alongside their loved ones who have died in Christ. We can pray that those who mourn will feel the certainty of being restored to those they have lost.
I pray God will draw close to orphans in Somalia, Nigeria, Egypt, Pakistan, Kenya, India, Iraq, Colombia, and other nations with the comfort of His presence and that those children will know the hope of embracing their parents anew on the other side. So also do I pray for the parents and other relatives who have suffered the brutal loss of their children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews. Lord, draw near to them in a tangible way, that Your presence would remove the sting of hopelessness from their grief and that their hearts would be permeated with the faith that, soon enough, they will be reconciled to those for whom they now so ache.
No need to shy away from praying with tears.
I’m not sure the heavenly rewards for martyrdom are much consolation to those left behind, but they do speak to the victory we have in Christ. To each of the seven churches the Lord addresses in the book of Revelation, He includes rewards for those who conquer in faithful obedience, including steadfastness in persecution. And those rewards may give some indication of what God is preparing for those who persevere.
Yet more striking than the rewards is the One giving them, “One like the Son of Man,” with eyes “like a ﬂame of fire” and a voice “as the sound of many waters” (Rev. 1:13–15).
It is for Him that the young and old in Christ suffer today. If He were not also God who gave them the deposit of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee, they would have little impetus to remain faithful. It is to Him, who also suffered cruelty for their sake and ours, that we endeavor to intercede.
by the editor of Morning Star News