“How Long, O Lord, Holy and True?” – Revelation 6:9
In The New Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (Bridges-Logos Publishers, copyright 1997), Harold J. Chadwick states that there were more Christians martyred in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined (p 323). Such a statement is not at all outlandish if one thinks of the millions murdered by Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Che, Pol Pot, and even right now in places like Africa, the Middle East, Indonesia, China, and other darkened corners of the world.
It should also remind us to be thankful we live in a land that guarantees religious freedom. Because we have been honored with the blessings of liberty, we have little appreciation for the tribulation that much of the world, including our brethren abroad, must endure. I could recall heart-wrenching stories from the aforementioned book, which relates not only the biographies Foxe presented in his original volume some 500 years ago, but also modern martyrs from our own place in time. I shall leave it to you to search out the book and leave your tears on its pages. Instead, I wish to relate my reaction to something related.
Generally speaking, I have a pretty good life. I work hard, I play hard, I have a good family, and I enjoy nice things. I would really like to live to be an old man and see grandkids grow up. I really don’t want to see Jesus Christ return and spoil all my fun.
But when I read a small portion of the sixth chapter of the Book of Revelation, I get a glimpse of a very special group of people. “I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’” Revelation 6:9-10 NKJV.
The scripture is clear. The souls of those who have been slain are patiently resting and waiting for the time of God’s judgment. Is it right to ask them to wait even longer just for my convenience?
As we sit and feast in this amazingly protected and fat land, millions suffer daily for the beliefs that perhaps we take too casually. God through the course of the ages has witnessed untold brutality upon his children, and the smell of their blood and burning flesh demands his justice. One day he will say, “Enough!” and all such brutality shall cease.
Meanwhile, strengthened is my gratitude for the undeserved blessings we all have and the freedom to worship my Creator. Strengthened also is my prayer on behalf of those under the altar: “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”
Lenny Cacchio is a resident of Lees Summit. He blogs at http://morningcompanio nblogspot.com/.