When he ripped off the fifth seal, I saw the souls of those killed because they had held firm in their witness to the Word of God. They were gathered under the Altar, and cried out in loud prayers, "How long, Strong God, Holy and True? How long before you step in and avenge our murders?" Then each martyr was given a white robe and told to sit back and wait until the full number of martyrs was filled from among their servant companions and friends in the faith. Revelation 6:9-11 (TM)
I read an interesting op-ed piece the other week in which the writer justified his atheism by claiming God was silent during the Holocaust. I find it interesting that we often want God to make everything perfect. When something horrific happens, God is either blamed for not preventing it or dismissed as not being present. We don’t want to acknowledge the existence of evil, the constancy of war between good and evil, nor the fact that suffering has a purpose (Romans 5:3-5, I Peter 1:6-7; James 1:2-3).
Today’s verse reveals two important facts. First, there is an eternal plan in place and those who have suffered and been martyred for the faith are a part of that eternal plan – though we may not fully understand it. Second, in taking that eternal perspective we come to understand that "our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." (2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV) This world is not our home. We’re just passing through.