Sometimes you have to wonder what God is up to. Like when the 16 Christians were shot dead in Pakistan. The killers came in towards the close of the service and started shooting. Mothers threw themselves over their children to protect them. Cries for mercy were unheeded. The shooting went on till all were dead. Every wall of the church sanctuary was drenched in blood.

I pray that the daily diet of such accounts has not numbed us to the extent that our hearts are no longer broken over the violent, senseless deaths of our brethren. Yet the fate of the 16 Christians who died in Pakistan is no different from that of Israelis, Palestinians, Afghans etc, etc who perish daily under similar tragic circumstances.

The question is: “Why aren’t God’s people spared?” Why didn’t God intervene in Pakistan to protect His own? What difference does it make if we are Christian or not?

Clearly, being a follower of Jesus does not give us any special dispensation that protects us from the tragedies of life. There seems to be no difference in how God treats Christians and non-Christians, where daily circumstances are concerned.

Instead God rubs it in by telling us that “He makes the sun rise on the evil and the good…” (Matthew 5:45).

Why aren’t Christians given preferential treatment? Because we are called to demonstrate the God difference. (I got the idea from a Charles Colson article that I read many years ago.) If a scientist wants to find out the difference between two substances, she must put the two substances through exactly the same tests. We claim to know the living God. How are we to demonstrate to a lost world what difference that makes unless we also go through the same experiences they do? Read Acts 27: 9-44

Paul was literally ”in the same boat” as his non-Christian shipmates. Yet, he didn”t allow himself to surrender to the spirit of doom and gloom when everyone else had given up hope. Instead he clung on to God and His word. Strengthened by his relationship to God, he was in a position to encourage others and give direction that led eventually to the ”salvation” of all who were in the boat with him. He demonstrated the God difference.

But to do that he had to be in the same boat as his shipmates. I think this is God’s call to His people today. We will not be spared the travails of this present time. We were not meant to. Instead, we resist the seductive call of the spirit of doom and gloom. Anchored to God and His word,we encourage those around us. We show them the way of life. We demonstrate the God difference.