The clouds hide the earth below. Vapor drifts over the airplane wing and I notice the miles left on the colorless metal. A small dint here, a dark spot there. How many times has this plane carried families to Disney World? I ponder this question as I fly to a writers conference outside Orlando.
I always enjoy flying because it reminds me that there is something on the other side of the clouds. They are but mist. The clouds may produce rain or snow, but the plane powers through them with ease. They can’t stop its momentum.
My mind drifts to thoughts of how the world has been terrorized lately by the persecution of Jews and Christians.
Though this has happened in generations past, and these religions have faced atrocities all the way back to the days of coliseums and hungry wild animals, never has the world seen such tyranny displayed in our own homes.
The terrorists have used social media to proclaim their cause and exhibit their hatred. This is what makes the persecution unprecedented. It has invaded our world and we can’t ignore it anymore.
I almost felt guilty posting a Bite of Bread about “joy” this week. How can I do so when twenty-one Christian men died a gruesome death for their faith only a week before? I refuse to watch the video, but I’ve heard that they were crying out, “Jesus!”
While I know that some prefer not to know the world’s events, and some should ignore them because it causes paralyzing anxiety, it’s my hope to acknowledge our problems because burying our head in the sand may make us feel secure and happy, but it leaves us defenseless and unproductive in the battle for our world.
And it is a battle.
An Anti-Christ lives today determined to annihilate God’s people and all who don’t bow down to his religion. Clouds hang dark and ominous around this enemy of Christ. He is the complete opposite of the Jesus who died for us. ISIL clouds are thick and heavy, but they cannot overtake the light. They can’t stop us for reaching the Son.
Jesus said, “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)
Cruising at 10,000 feet, the plane has broken through all of the clouds and the sun glares off the dull wing outside my window. I still can’t see the sun, but it’s reflection off the wing promises its reality. It’s so bright, I close the shade half-way to keep its light from blinding me.
How did the plane reach the sun on the other side? It kept flying up and forward.
How do we keep our joy in a world where people are dying for their faith?
We keep our faith. We trust in the goodness and kindness of God. We spend time in his presence so that we shine his light in this dark world.
Be a beacon of hope.
Love those around you.
And join the army of praying warriors in the battle to defeat this enemy of Christ. It’s a big war my friends, but the battle has been won. We know the end of the story.
Yet there’s work to be done today.
Pray. Worship. And pray some more.
Ask God for joy in the midst of these grave circumstances. That joy is only found in his presence and the promise of a day when there will be no more crying, disease, or death. . . “for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
Fly to the Son. He’s just through the clouds.
“O people of God, be great believers! Little faith will bring your souls to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your souls.” ~Charles H. Spurgeon