As the events have unfolded in Iraq in recent weeks, I have been horrified with the rest of the non-radical world that’s looking on. Hearing news of Christian children being beheaded, women killed or kidnapped, fathers hung, and other religious minorities dying similar deaths, is both unnerving and deeply saddening.
I’ve almost felt numb and unable to pray. I think I’m afraid to let my mind go there because of the real possibility that we and our children may have to face that one day. I can’t help but to imagine myself in that situation and try to understand how it would feel. It’s hard to wrap the mind around such barbaric actions and frightening situations and, honestly, it can be a little crippling to do so for very long.
Initially, what I felt was something along the lines of pity, but now I can’t decide if I should I fall on my face and cry or if I should stand at attention to honor them. I think of these passages in Revelation and I could easily burst into tears of pride for the strength and devotion I see:
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. (Revelation 6:9-11)
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Revelation 12:11)
They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
This is what we see happening in Iraq today. I still feel horrified by it all and I do still feel sorrow for their suffering, but right now I am just really proud and in awe of my Arab brothers and sisters in Christ.
Go rest a little while longer, overcoming ones. Your light shines on.