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Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, April 6, 2014

TAKE THIS CUP

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42

On hearing the news of the violent assassination of Christian government minister, Shahbaz Bhatti, Maaria from Pakistan wrote these words in her “Secret Believers” blog:

Another man laid to rest, not like men who die for a better tomorrow or men who die for the restoration of a nation, or men who die for a noble cause. I am writing of a line of men and women who have entered Christ’s rest because they chose to believe in Him above the laws of the land and the laws of Islam. They chose to stand up for Christ…

Mr. Bhatti’s name has been added to that list. Every time I try to sleep, images of his car, the blood, the bullet holes, the sound of what it must have been like, the stench of what must have filled the air come to me along with the voice of a woman hidden away in a prison. A woman whose persecution started this spate of hatred and anger—Aasia Bibi, my sister—in solitary confinement, afraid, alone and waiting for the day she is hung for a crime she did not commit.

For every bullet that was sprayed, whether it hit him and spilt his blood or not, I offer the Al Quaida, forgiveness. I cannot speak yet for my aching people. I will give them time to get there. But I know there are Maarias who forgive the Al Quaida for taking away a man who loved Jesus and loved the Church and loved Pakistan. For every bullet, I remember the nails on the cross and ask the Lord to “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” They have been brain washed. They are not born for this. God allows them into the world for great things. I ask that you forgive them too.

For every drop of blood spilt, forgive them. Jesus hung on the cross and his blood was spilt for us. For every drop of blood, I urge you my Christian family around the world, to remember the sips of wine from the cup that Jesus passed among his disciples in the upper room…Then remember those of us for whom the words of Christ are so real today, “Lord...take this cup from me.” I am sure there were nights when Mr. Bhatti spoke into the darkness to God and asked Him to deliver him from this. But God gave him the courage to carry on. He did not bend to the demand to give up and walk away.

RESPONSE: Today I will pray for courage to honor Jesus and forgive those who snuff out His light.

PRAYER: Lord, grant Your courage, peace and forgiving spirit to all who grieve injustices today.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.