There far away was the Lonely Mountain on the edge of eyesight. On its highest peak snow yet unmelted was gleaming pale. “So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending!” said Bilbo, and he turned his back on his adventure.
J. R. R. Tolkein, The Hobbit
This is the Christian hope in the midst of pain and suffering; fire is quenched and even dragons have their ending.
The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.
Now I’ve finished my university exams I’m finding the time to read through some more of the information I picked up at New Word Alive. There were a number of Christian organisations there and one such group was Release International. The magazine they gave me contains the following quote from some Egyptian Christians who have been tortured.
Please don’t pray for us. Please pray with us. If you pray for us, you will pray for the wrong things. You will pray for our safety. You will pray that persecution will cease. But if you pray with us, you will ask God to bring millions of Egyptians to faith in Christ. You will pray that when the inevitable Muslim backlash comes because of our witness, we will be faithful, even if it costs us our lives.
Quote originally from Al Janssen in The Persecuted Church Taught Me to Pray
It seems to be a common message from the so-called ‘persecuted church’*. Our brothers and sisters who suffer don’t crave comfort and safety, but faithfulness and perseverance. May we be faithful in our prayers for them.
God doesn’t build bridges, He divides seas.
John Piper (2007)
This quote is from one of John Piper’s blog posts, and reminds me that God’s ways are not ours (Isaiah 55:8). Also noteworthy is Piper’s following (and sobering) comment:
Usually [God’s] people must pass through the deadly currents of suffering and death, not simply ride over them.