“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered” (Romans 8:36)
Christianity Today reported the tragedy that took place this past Sunday, November 5, as the deadliest attack on a house of worship in US history. There were about 50 attendees on the 11AM service at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, TX. Of those, 26 were reported dead and about 20 were injured. The shooter was identified as Devin Patrick Kelley – not apparently a terrorist, nor an immigrant, just a former military, possibly mentally ill or simply non-resolved white American citizen, who in the past has assaulted his wife and stepson, among other accusations. According to the New York Times, he had recently become vocally anti-Christian, trying to preach Atheism on Facebook.
These marks of the end times reveal us some powerful truths that we, as Christians, need to be aware of.
First, we are all one suffering body of Christ, one church, globally. There is no difference: the suffering church of Iraq lives also in Texas. We are the same body, subject to the same persecution and that is exactly why we should care more and more about each other.
Second, religious persecution is a Spiritual reality. Even though it appears historically as part of God’s purpose to His people, the enemy is intentionally attempting to destroy the church. Our struggle is not against shooters, radicals, terrorist groups, parties, but against evil (Ephesians 6:12). We need to be spiritually ready.
We pray for the church of Sutherland Springs, the church of Texas, the church of America. We pray for the church of Indonesia, the church of Sudan, the church of North Korea. We pray that God will strengthen these that take the suffering of Jesus and live it nobly and faithfully. We stand for the suffering church. Amen and amen!