On Friday I was in a prayer meeting for the persecuted church in a little side room of the main prayer room here in KC. To to be honest, I didn’t really want to be there, I had a headache, my mind was full of things I was thinking - really they were incredibly trivial in comparison to the need which we were praying for.One of the guys praying with me started to deeply intercede with such anguish for the horrific things in this world - hundreds of christians in labour camps, in prisons, being raped and abused, killed, dismembered, their dignity stolen from them in ways we can’t even imagine. In ways that are too graphic to even comprehend.
My heart started to cry. For the pain, for the deep deep hurt that millions go through every day just because they love Jesus with a tenacity that won’t be stolen from them. For the children that never experience childhood, for the mothers who have their husbands taken from them.. For the girls and women abducted and sold as sex slaves by ISIS and the Nigerian pastor who flees for his life while he watches his church and his house burn. For the North Korean believers that are holding on by a thread, waiting, praying, believing to be rescued from their horrific circumstances.
My heart hurts for this world, for the sickening things I hear daily about yet another pastor and his family killed. My heart hurts because the western church forgets about the other parts of her body in chains. My heart hurts because although God partners with us in prayer to see circumstances changed, I know it’s not enough until Jesus returns. Until he comes to make all things right on this earth.
Honestly, I’ve never really thought all that much about the return of Jesus. In our little western bubble apathy reigns, we selfishly long for revival in our churches without ever longing for the return of the One who will make all things right. The more I pray for the persecuted church, the more I long for Jesus… not just for intimacy, not just for relationship with the true King of the universe, but to see Him.
I long to see him bring justice to the broken, the hurting.. I long for Him to bring ‘blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ into reality in the natural. I long for the church to take her rightful place as the Bride to usher in the kingdom of Jesus. I long for justice for the widow, for healing for the abused, for the lonely to be placed in families and for the the homeless to find their true home in a Father that never disappoints.
And although I long, and I pray, and I hope.. I don’t know when He will return. I don’t know how much longer the persecution will go on, and my heart sinks knowing that it will only get worse before he returns.. so until that time, I will pray. I will partner with God’s purposes for these precious brothers and sisters in their hidden suffering, and believe that he will sustain and bring them joy in the midst of the pain. Because they are truly blessed for their trials, and great is their reward in heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil about you. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven..” Matt 5:11-12
“So with you: now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy..” John 16:22