This is such a puzzle to most of us. Why does God allow ISIS to crucify Christian Pastors, and slaughter innocent children in front of their Christian parents in the middle of a country which so desperately needs the Gospel? Why doesn’t God step in and protect the ones who are faithfully serving Him in this world?
I’m sure I can’t fully answer this, but a scene in the book of Revelation comes to mind:
“When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of th-11ose who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” Revelation 6:9-11
There are just a few things to observe from this future event:
- Isis martyrs and many other Old and New Testament believers in the One, True God (Jesus) are in this group pictured in Revelation. These are the ones who have been martyred for the faith throughout history.
- This is an honored, special group of people, evidenced by where they are standing, under the altar of God, in His throne room.
- They are just as curious as we are about why God keeps waiting to finally destroy all the cruel enemies of God. They cry for all martyrdom to be over.
- They are rewarded with a white robe. Why is this a reward? Not exactly sure. White robes are what the raptured saints will be wearing as soon as they are snatched out of the world, resurrected out of their earthly bodies, and gathered around the throne. (described in Revelation 7:9&10) And, white robes are what all believers in the One, True God (Jesus) will be wearing someday as we return with Christ on white horses (described in Revelation 19:11-14). Perhaps the reward here is that the martyrs receive their white robes first, before any of the rest of us do.
- They are told to rest with the current horrible situation on earth. How can they rest, knowing what their fellow believers are facing? Their rest has to be based on their trust that God Himself knows what He is doing.
- They are told that there are a few more people to be martyred for their faith on the earth, and those future martyrs are not going to be robbed of their opportunity to join this elite group. In other words, to be martyred is an honor, and there is a job they are needed for, and Lord wants them to get their chance!
Again, I’m not sure this completely answers our questions about the suffering of faithful servants of God, but I am comforted in my heart to know that God is allowing these things, that He does have a purpose, and that those martyrs will someday give out a group shout, “It was worth it!!!”