Have you ever played the “What if…” game? You start by saying, “What if,” and then add whatever comes to mind afterwards. It’s not particularly fun.
I played the game on the morning of writing this article. It came as a result of hearing the woeful tragedy that recently befell Afghanistan.
The Taliban took over.
Instigated by the unwise and uncompassionate decision of our current administration to pull American troops off an unstable territory, leaving thousands of American citizens in Afghanistan defenseless, now the same radical Islamic group that perpetrated the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11 controls a country of strategic relevance for middle eastern power.
So, I played the “What if…” game.
What if the Taliban are able to infiltrate America? What if China is able to successfully combat the Taliban and overtake Afghanistan for themselves? What if the Taliban discover the Afghan Christians who are hiding? What if such persecution for American Christians is not that far away?
These kinds of questions, although never “fun”, can be helpful. It brings us back to prayer. It wakes us up from our spiritual lethargy. It causes us to ask what’s important in our lives.
The Bible teaches us that suffering and persecution are the norm for disciples of Jesus Christ:
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” – 2 Timothy 3:12 (NKJV)
However, it’s safe to say that the degrees of persecution which believers undergo vary from person to person, culture to culture, era to era.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials…” – 1 Peter 1:6 (NKJV)
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials…” – James 1:2 (NKJV)
One only has to look at the world around us and see the “various trials” which God’s people undergo. Christians in American do not endure the trials which Christians in Afghanistan, North Korea, and China do. That’s not to say that individual Christians in America are not suffering at all, but that the general atmosphere of our culture is much more tolerant of Christianity than these other countries.
But, “What if…”?
If a country like Afghanistan can be taken over by a radical group in a matter of days, it’s no stretch of the imagination to think that a weakened superpower, such as America, can be taken over by a strengthened superpower, such as China, in a period of time that can shock the universe.
As said, times like these remind us of what is important in life. I imagine that the Afghan Christians are not thinking about when they can see the next episode of their favorite TV drama. I imagine that the Afghan Christians are fasting, praying, and supporting one another as they count the days before they are discovered by the Taliban. The jihadists will, without doubt, persecute, harass, torture, and murder our brethren who choose to confess Christ.
Therefore, in America, where the task of fulfilling the Great Commission is met with trials of a lesser degree than in Afghanistan, let us take advantage of whatever freedoms we have left, and “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” – Mark 16:15 (NKJV)
And leave the “what ifs” to God. As Charles Stanley said, “Obey God, and leave all the consequences to Him.”
Praying for our Afghan brethren with you,
– Pastor Alex