But what about him?
Simon Peter asked Jesus this question, when Jesus revealed that it was God’s will that Peter’s manner of death was part of God’s plan. Peter turned to John, “But what about him?” “What is that you Jesus replied if he remains util I return. ‘You follow me.’”
“To this you were called” Peter would later write to Christians about to experience the full fury of Nero’s persecution.
The ‘this’ was referring to suffering. “If you suffer for doing good and endure it this is commendable before God To this you were called because Christ suffered for you leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps. ( I Peter 2: 20-21 NIV )
I remember the story of the little girl saying her prayers at bedtime. Folding her chubby, dimpled hands she said “Dear Lord, make me like Jesus…only no nails…”;
In the same letter that Peter wrote he concluded by saying,
“Those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful creator and continue to do good.” ( I Pet 4:19 NIV );
The very word suffer comes from a 13th Century word that has the following connotations;
- To permit
- To allow
- To fail to prevent or suppress
- To resist (or stand against)
- To bear up under
The Ukrainian people are in the middle of a nightmare. When I saw this photo. I remembered images of Jewish children separated from their parents, hiding in the dark sewers of the Warsaw Ghetto. I remember visiting a holocaust museum in Florida. While standing in one the cattle cars that took Jews to their deaths in Auschwitz…the guide told us there were marks in the wood with fingernail gouges of people trying to claw their way out.
In a place called Vilna this photo showed a Jew in WWII emerging from what came to be called Malinas…’hiding places.’ The Psalmist wrote,
“Thou art my hiding place. Thou shalt preserve me from trouble…thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah Psalm ( Psalms 37:7 KJV )
We would do well to remember that the early church met underground… literally…in the catacombs, worshiping their Lord in amidst the stench of death.
In I Peter 5:9 we read,
“Be self-controlled and alert Your enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him standing form in your faith because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
Lord we cry out to you in prayer for this in the Ukraine who are fleeing for their loves. We pray for this who stayed to fight and those from around the world who are going there to join them. We pray for helpers. We pray for the leaders in Poland and the rest of Europe and for our own leaders that You will give wisdom and agreement and resolve to face this crisis. Raise up and empower your church Oh God to minister to those who suffer.
This we pray in Jesus’ Name