According to reports this past week, Asia Bibi is free to leave Pakistan. With my fellow believers I welcome this news. I am thankful that the political and legal efforts have been effective and that the Pakistani Supreme court gave justice. We should remember, however, that the real power behind her release was not political or social, but spiritual.
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turns it wherever he will.”
But what if God had chosen not to save her life? What if Asia had been condemned and executed? Would it mean the faithful, consistent prayer had failed? That God didn’t care?
Through the years, hundreds of thousands of Christians have died for their faith. Many more have suffered for it. Did they matter less to God?
To have a proper perspective on this, let’s remember Paul’s words in Philippians 1:
“For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
These verses reminds us of three important truths:
1) Christians have an ultimate desire – “Christ be magnified”
2) Christians face an ultimate demand – “whether by life or by death”
3) Christians anticipate ultimate destiny – “to die is gain”
Over the next several weeks I will address each of these as related to a Biblical perspective of suffering.