There is a burden that is so heavy and so deep in my soul.
It has been a week since these headlines have hit. And if I can be honest, the first time I heard it, I turned away. I did not want to hear about it. It was too sad. It was too heartbreaking. I just looked away.
Wednesday morning, on my way to work, I was listening to Bethel’s “You Make Me Brave”, (video is at the bottom of this post, if you haven’t heard this song) and it became the soundtrack of a movie that started to play in my head. The movie that played was 21 of my Christian brothers getting beheaded for believing that Jesus Christ is their Savior.
And my heart broke. And I wept.
As soon as I arrived at work, I started looking at articles. All of the images looking familiar now.
And I read articles about my brothers. Desperate to find out more about them.
I learned they were young. I learned many of them immigrated to Libya to support their families in Egypt. I learned one of them had not even met his toddler daughter. When he left for Libya, he did not know his wife was pregnant. I learned they had to separate from their families because they were living below the poverty line.
I learned that their captors tortured them. I learned that torture is a nice word for how they treated them. I learned that the captors were trying to get my brothers to denounce Jesus Christ, and they wouldn’t. It was either denounce Christ and live or accept Christ and die.
They all refused to deny Christ.
The captors threatened. With words. And with blood.
“The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama Bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.”
But the blood has already been spilled. It has already been finished. Our imperfections and sins are drowned in seas of crimson. Just like the crimson tide from my brother’s deaths.
The last thing I learned about my 21 brothers, is that they died, on the beach, singing songs to Jesus.
This makes my heart weep, knowing this. In my movie, the soundtrack just happened to be “You Make Me Brave”. But they had their own soundtrack.
A soundtrack that commissioned passion. A soundtrack that made them stand up for their Savior. A soundtrack that, in the most vulnerable position, made them the bravest men that shore has carried.
So the question is, what now?
How can we live undaunted in this comfortable and cozy culture that is called America?
How can we be fearless in proclaiming Jesus in a culture saturated with the fear of being politically correct?
How can we be steadfast and undeterred and live the life that God has willed us to live.
Because the fact is, there are persecuted Christians all over the globe. This just happened to be televised.
What does brave look like for you? What can brave look like for us?
Though I mourn, there is a peace that surpasses earthly understanding. Because they are basking in the glory and presence of Jesus in heaven. They are with him in paradise, because of this truth:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8: 35-39, ESV
March on, child. The war continues.