When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?” Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters—their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred—had joined them. Rev. 6:9-11(NLT)
Dear heavenly Father, images of our orange-clad Egyptian brothers, paraded along the seashore before their martyrdom, brought many emotions to play in my heart. I felt a moment of fear, then anger and disgust, and then a tad of hatred for enemies of the cross and a longing for vengeance. I felt all of these things, until I entered the sanctuary of your Word.
Father, though I don’t fully understand, I rest in the assurance that you are as sovereign over the number of your children to be martyred, as you are in control of sunrise and sunset, seedtime and harvest, the day Jesus entered our world and the timing of his return. You give and you take away, blessed be the name of our Lord.
The Lamb who was broken for our sins, is alone worthy to break the seals of your unfolding story of redemption and restoration. There’s no consternation or vexation in heaven, just exaltation of the God who does all things well—in your time and in your way. “Stuff” doesn’t just happen; sovereignty is always happening. We believe; help us when we feel weak, Father.
When will Jesus return, and when will you avenge the glory of your name and eradicate all evil? You delay because you are a merciful and grace-full God. Through Jesus, you have secured a family as numerous as stars, sand, and dust, from all nations and people groups. Perhaps among those who took the lives of our Egyptian brothers is another like Saul of Tarsus, whom you call and appoint another Apostle of Grace (Acts 7:54-59).
So we pray for grieving families in Egypt, Father, and we join the cry of martyrs in heaven, “How long, O Lord?” Grant us grace and courage, to share the gospel, serve our neighbors, and love our enemies, until this day becomes that Day. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ beautiful and triumphant name.