Monday, February 17, 2014

Voice of Martyrs

"...For your holy people and your prophets have been killed, and their blood was poured out on the earth.  So you have given their murderers blood to drink.  It is their just reward.”  And I heard a voice from the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God Almighty, your punishments are true and just.” Revelation 16:6-7

Today is a holiday in Manitoba, called Louis Riel Day. It occurs the third Monday of February every year.  We remember Louis Riel, who was a Metis, and considered the founder and Father of Manitoba.  He was the driving force behind Manitoba becoming Canada’s fifth province, found an identity for Metis people and shook up the status quo of Canada.  He stood up for his people and his beliefs. However, his name and memory evokes mystery. He was hanged in Regina, SK., on November 16, 1885, for treason. I say a mystery because his life is perceived in different ways. One person may consider him a criminal, traitor or rebel while another perceives him a hero, patriot, and martyr.  One thing is undebatable.  He was willing to die for his cause and to live for his cause.  I don’t know which was harder. His voice still cries out.

These days I have been reading through Revelation. John heard the voices of martyrs in heaven pleading for justice. They had given their lives for Jesus Christ. They are waiting their time for full justice, which will one day come.  Down through the ages courageous men and women who have laid their lives down for Christ have been perceived by some as traitors and rebels while the Church declares them to be heroes, patriots of the Kingdom of God, and martyrs.  I have known some of these modern day martyrs, who were not considered martyrs by their own people but are honored in God’s sight as genuine martyrs for His name’s sake.  Every day the memory of Zia, whose tongue was cut out and shot and thrown over a wall, is before me as my eyes see a knick knack on a shelf from a family member. I breathe a prayer….Lord, please remember what Zia did and bring glory to Your name. The voice of martyrs like Zia continues to cry out. It can not be silenced.

Recently the question came up whether it was easier to die for Jesus or live for Jesus?  Both demand dying to self. I may never become a physical martyr for Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, there is a dying to self when one is willing and available to live for Jesus and be sent to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to Muslims, wherever they may be found – even in lands where there is political and religious freedom to do so. Just as Louis Riel remains a mystery in Canada and is perceived in completely opposite ways, we, too, who are ministering among Muslims, will be perceived in differing ways; both within the Church and outside it.  Yes, even in my homeland of Canada. There’s a cost in following the Lamb wherever He goes. He is worth it!

Dear heavenly Father, please give me courage to live for You and be faithful to Your calling.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.