I deeply emphatize with our Kenyan neighbors for the ghastly murderous rampage that was unleashed upon them by the terrorist organisation, Al Shabaab, on Thursday morning. This act of incomprehensible hatred has touched the hearts of anyone who has any bit of reasoning capability.
My heart goes out to the grieving families. Nothing we say or do can really temper the pain, it is too much. But because God has put His love in our hearts, He uses us to reach out to other people. We have prayed and we will continue to pray for all the victims’ families. May God grant them grace and succour in the spirit during this extremely trying time.
In attempting to explain this murderous madness and similar acts of insanity that are going on all over the world today, we must start with the premise that we are in the world, and the Bible says that the world is full of violence: “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…” (Gen. 6:5-12).
But more importantly, we know that the world is against anything that is even remotely associated with our Lord Jesus Christ. The anti-Christ spirit of the world is alive and well, always has been: “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1 Jn. 2:18).
This spirit, being a violent spirit, has much in its arsenal, and it readily uses any of its ‘weapons’ to angrily lash out at anything that has even a semblance of Christianity. All this is in the Bible.
During Herod’s time, he killed all the children who were below two years of age, even though he knew that they were not all Jesus.
In the days we are living in, anyone who has the label of ‘Christian’ will be hunted down and exterminated, ostensibly for any number of reasons; but the real reason being that that person is in one way or another associated with the Lord of eternal Life, Jesus Christ. That is why we cannot be just nominal ‘Christians’. On the contrary, we must be committed men and women, committed to Christ in truth and in the Spirit through accepting Jesus Christ into our hearts by faith. Actually, the real tragedy in the Garissa massacre are the number of souls, including the terrorists, who died without a personal faith in Jesus Christ.
I believe that is why God is reviving the Pauline revelation of the cross for the church. Without this revelation, believers will, by and large, be nominal Christians. Many, even born-again, will walk in sin. And, in the face of the ongoing persecution many will be tempted to feel bitter and even vengeful. They will claim an eye for an eye, and a life for a life.
But with the revelation of the cross, believers will flourish in the midst of persecution, for in Christ they will learn to joyfully embrace the spirit of suffering. The revelation of the cross will have accomplished a victorious work in their lives. With all the bad blood running in the world today, it is these people alone – those who carry the cross – who will be able to show forth the overcoming love of Christ to a world which has a mindset (or heartset) that has absolutely no understanding of the meaning of love.
We need to pray to God for peace in our neighborhoods and for our nations. Our God is well able to protect His own. But we also need to be prepared in our hearts to suffer, and to suffer with grace.
[Below: No words can suffice to soothe the pain; but God’s grace is sufficient …]