Part 1 can be read HERE.
As I read the horrific details of what one man did to run off a small town preacher in North Carolina, a number of thoughts flooded my mind. The first was the realization I have not suffered in ministry compared to the Nichols family. I haven’t had my house and car shot up… Dynamite hasn’t exploded around my house once, much less multiple time… I haven’t had my life threatened… and neither has my wife been killed because of the Gospel. I doubt many reading this have suffered either. But the Nichols family suffered those things and more…
Then there was a huge question the book didn’t answer or address: Where were the church leaders… who all knew the person behind these events? How could they allow their pastor, who they say they loved, to go through those events and not say or do SOMETHING?! Were they guilty of saying in essence, “”Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (Ja 2:16). How in the world could they allow their Pastor and family to go through so many attacks, ALONE?! There are sins of commission and OMISSION (NOT doing something). Maybe someone did and it wasn’t recorded in the book. But then, maybe no one did anything.
Recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. (Heb 10:32-34).
What could the church members have done? Especially since the perpetrator was so influential and powerful in the community… who was not even a member of the church?
They could have chosen to “be partners with” their pastor in suffering. But wouldn’t they have also been targeted? Yes, but read the last sentence of the above passage again! We all, every Christian, must live and die with the desire of hearing God say… “Well done good and faithful servant!” (Mt 25:21). They could have literally guarded the pastor instead of paying someone to do it (But that is a little too dangerous). En-mass they could have confronted “The Devil” and demand him to cease and desist. Really… I don’t know what all they could have done, but everything in me screams out for someone to have done something… ANYTHING.
Admittedly, I wasn’t there. I don’t know what I would have done. But I hope and pray I would’ve done SOMETHING for the Pastor and family. However… to be consistent with my theology, in some way beyond my ability to comprehend in this life… God’s will was carried out for His glory and the Nichols’ family ultimate good. Otherwise I have to cut a few verses out of the Bible: Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11; Isaiah 46:9-10; Philippians 1:6, 2:13. I’ll also have to ignore the testimony of Steve Saint and Jim Bowers who describe the murderous death of family members as something God did for a greater purpose.
I’m going to stop here and pick it back up tomorrow… God willing.