Thursday, 30 April 2015

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How Do You Explain the Unspeakable Sufferings Caused by ISIS to Your Child?


This is A Poem of Hope:
Two Rows by the Sea

Two rows of men walked the shore of the sea,

On a day when the world’s tears would run free,

One a row of assassins, who thought they did right,

The other of innocents, true sons of the light,

One holding knives in hands held high,

The other with hands empty, defenceless and tied,

One row of slits to conceal glaring-dead eyes,

The other with living eyes raised to the skies,

One row stood steady, pall-bearers of death,

The other knelt ready, welcoming heaven’s breath,

One row spewed wretched, contemptible threats,

The other spread God-given peace and rest.

A Question…

Who fears the other?

The row in orange, watching paradise open?

Or the row in black, with minds evil and broken?

Each time I flip open the newspapers, I am confronted by all kinds of disasters and terrible things happening in the world. One of the most gruesome and unspeakable horrors are the atrocities committed by ISIS.

How does one explain the unspeakable sufferings caused by ISIS to our child? Or to oneself? For if I can't explain it to myself, how can I explain it to my child? I struggled hard with it. (My faith is tested, will it come forth as gold?)

How does one make sense of it?

Is God still in control?

Will goodness triumph over evil?

Where is God in the picture?

I am filled with doubts. My faith is shaken. My mind is full of questions. But God in His graciousness answered me.

When I was back in March to Singapore for my father's funeral, the Lord met me there and then. My mum brought me to her church. On that evening, there was a visiting preacher from the UK. He is an elderly British missionary who had been serving in the Middle East for most of his life. He shared first hand of his encounters of the Lord's hand in bringing in Bibles into the Middle East, the dangers he faced and how the Lord delivered him from the troubles he faced at customs, sometimes even in the most humourous way. He is now already back to the UK, but his contacts in the Middle East testified of the works God is doing despite the evil in the world, which he shared during the service.

The one thing that the preacher shared that went straight into my heart, and that was the recent case of ISIS executions of the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. The preacher shared how God was able to use this seemingly bad situation to for good. Because of this horrible incident, in such period of deep sorrows and pains, the people of Middle East and especially Egypt started asking deeper and deeper questions about life, faith and God - things we take for granted in the west. From their seeking and searching, God was able to meet them where they are, show them His grace and draw people to Him like never before. This incident also united the Egyptian Christians and Muslims like never before. What men meant it for evil, but God was able to turn it around and used it for good.

I quote from Malvern Mashal about the testimony of the Director of the Bible Society of Egypt:

Ramez writes, “As I arrived at the Bible Society of Egypt office in the morning, feeling sad and depressed, I met a young co-worker who told me that she was “very encouraged.”  I could not imagine what on earth could encourage her! She replied,

“I am encouraged because now I know that what we have been taught in history books about Egyptian Christians being martyred for their faith is not just history, but that there are Christians today who are brave enough to face death rather than deny their Lord!  When I saw these young men praying as they were being prepared for execution and then many of them shouting “O Lord Jesus” as their throats were being slit, I realized that the Gospel message can still help us to hold on to the promises of God even when facing death!”

You can see the full tract from the Egyptian Bible Society here.

All my questions were answered during that service at my mum's church. Thank you God. You saw my struggle, and my wrestling with doubts, and You answered it.

I now know how to answer our Little FECS, should he one day ask me about ISIS. I would be able to look into his eyes and speak with conviction that God is still in control. He makes all things work for those who love him. What men meant for evil, God is able to use it for good.

Indeed God is the one who answers prayers, and clear our doubts. My heart is filled with gratefulness and my spirit is encouraged. Despite all the evil going on in the world, there is hope - real hope.

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:37-39

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." - Matthew 10:28

Conclusion:

In conclusion:

1. How Do You Explain the Unspeakable Sufferings Caused by ISIS to Your Child?

To our Little FECS, I will tell him, there is hope. God is still working even in the midst of all the evil around us. God is able to use them to show His love, to bring comfort and to bring people to Him. When trials increase, grace increases even more in those trying times and places. When people accept Jesus as their Lord during such times, you know they do so with great conviction, knowing that evil men could kill the body, but could not kill the soul. I will share with Our Little FECS those testimonies that I have heard from the preacher working on Ground Zero. We in the peaceful West are not able to see it, but God does make His presence known mightily, even when these 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians lost their lives. God receives them into Paradise, God takes care of them and will make justice known one day in His time. We need only to trust in God, to continue to show mercy and forgiveness to others.

2. What Is Required of Your Child?

And what is required of our Little FECS?

As someone commented, when we feel overwhelmed by all the evil happening in the world each time we flip open the newspapers, this is what the Lord says He require of us from the Bible:

"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." - Micah 6:8

My heart is at rest. My doubts are answered. I thank God for His faithfulness in answering my questions.

References:

http://www.unitedbiblesocieties.org/two-rows-men-poem-faith-face-adversity/

https://ruachmin.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/following-the-death-of-the-21-coptic-christians-hebrews-11-is-being-reenacted-today/

http://communicatingacrossboundariesblog.com/2015/02/24/a-poem-of-hope-two-rows-by-the-sea/

http://www.biblesociety.org.au/news/bible-society-egypt-responds-love-enemy-message-christians-killed

https://ruachmin.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/two-rows-by-the-sea/

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/february-web-only/how-libyas-martyrs-are-evangelizing-egypt.html

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