Today's guest post comes from anonymous source who wrote this post because - in his own words - he felt he needed to "write out my thoughts on the kidnappings just to make sense of it all." Below is what he came up with. And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
Ever since the news broke out on Sunday of the beheading of twenty-one Coptic workers in Libya, there has been barrage of news links, Facebook statuses, and blog posts (sorry).
With the intent of informing myself, I've read through a lot of these and have landed in a state of complete bewilderment. It's a bit overwhelming.
How am I supposed to feel right now? Should I be mad that the video is being shared so carelessly? Should I be annoyed that the White House statement neglected to identify the victims as Christians? Should I rejoice that the Egyptian government responded by bombing Islamic State targets in Libya?
It's easy to respond to big questions like these almost automatically (e.g. yes. yes. I don't know) and to make them our focus, but I fear we are just missing the point.
So what's the point? The point has to be, and must always be, Christ. Christ and my relationship with Him. Christ and whether I really know Him.
I have no desire to watch the video, but one thing that a few friends mentioned was how calm the martyrs seemed moments before their murder. I'm reminded of these words by St. Paul:
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
How heavily the martyrs must have relied on those words! I don't think it's even possible to literally walk towards your death, as they did, without knowing there is the love of God on the other side. St. Paul, who walked towards his martyrdom, knew this with all his heart.
Okay, so that's them. How about me?
The death of these brave men is not their whole story. They had lives too. Both the manner in which they lived and in which they died witnesses to the love of God. Do I also witness to Him? How can I if I don't embrace Him every day? If I don't answer His call to interact with Him daily - whether it be through service, His word, or simply showing kindness to others?
Before I wish to share in the suffering of their death, I pray that God guides me to live the way they did. Teach me to show love and affection to my family like Hani Abdel Messihah. To have the courageous faith of Yousef Shoukry. To practice sacrificial love like Maged Suleiman Shahata.
Teach me Lord, to live like your twenty-one saints.