Later from Luke Shooter

Dear church family,

It’s been a distressing week seeing what’s unfolding in Afghanistan. The images that came out on Tuesday of thousands flooding the tarmac of the Kabul Airport show the desperation so many are feeling. These are heavy days for this nation.

With the Taliban now seizing control of much of the country, the future is uncertain and unsafe, especially for Christians. Mark Norris has written a very helpful article on How Afghan Pastors Reflect on God’s Sovereignty. In this article Mark mentions how pastors have received letters from the Taliban saying “​​We know who you are, what you do, and where to find you.”

At the heart of their distress (and ours for them), are profound questions about the goodness and sovereignty of God. How can God allow his people to suffer and be intimidated? Why would he even allow it? Wouldn’t he be more glorified if they were delivered and justice prevailed?

These are huge questions, and there are very good answers, but they are not neat and simple. Some of us may have wrestled with them before, but perhaps none of us to the degree that our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan are living with them today.

At the heart of God’s answer to the problem of evil is the cross. At the cross the suffering of the Lord Jesus revealed God’s ultimate goodness. How God used the suffering of His Son for good is profound, but it was his plan to save through His suffering. And just like our Saviour, all followers of the Lord Jesus, will suffer (2 Tim 3:12).

The apostle Paul got this, which is why he said to new Christians that it was through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22) and was even able to face his own sufferings with joy (Colossians 1:24-26).

One woman who also grew in her understanding of this was Dr. Helen Roseveare. She suffered much during her years as a missionary doctor in the Congo. As she processed one of the most horrific things someone can suffer for the name of Jesus, she sensed the Holy Spirit remind her: “These are not your sufferings. They’re Mine. All I ask of you is the loan of your body.”

So as we remember and mourn for our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, let’s continue to pray for them and hold on to God’s goodness in the midst of such terrible suffering. Jesus still reigns despite the suffering that is being inflicted against his body (the church) and one day will bring an end to all evil (Psalm 2).

Together in Christ,
Luke Shooter

PS. Here is a helpful article on how to pray for them.