I endeavor to limit my news watching and concentrate on pumping up my faith with God’s Word, inspiring books, and worship. It has been key in navigating the storm that has descended upon us in 2020. But I inadvertently stumbled upon the picture above happening recently in Portland, not widely reported by network or cable news. Tears streamed down my face until I full-forced sobbed.
The powerful image of the guillotine and the burning of Winnie the Pooh are quite effective and infused with evil. Honestly, darkness radiated off the page as I stared at the image in disbelief. It’s purpose was not to bring tears but to incite division and fear. Beheading and burning a famous childhood hero is to attack the innocence of American children, and British for that matter! And the guillotine was a barbaric instrument of death used through the ages but especially to bring revolution in France. It’s likeness is to recall strong and bloody overtake. There are so many innuendos in this picture and concrete happening that I don’t know where to start. Does Winnie represent me as a Christian conservative in America? The possible endgame of this symbolism is a bottomless pit.
Beheading and burning. It’s hard to wrap my mind much less heart around these. The book of Revelation talks about the righteous being beheaded for the sake of the name of Jesus.
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:40).
From the disciples onward, history proves there have always been martyrs for the love and sake of Jesus’ precious name. The disciples of Jesus were stoned and some murdered, and the Church has a glorious history of martyrdom. Generally though this is not a subject that we like to explore up close. It’s a comfortable subject at a distance.
I once heard a young man state that the Holy Spirit had already showed him that he would be a martyr. He sounded brave and courageous because he was able to embrace his role in a small glimpse of the future. But after this conversation, he complained how painful it had been to be without his cell phone for three days. And I thought to myself is he really ready to be martyred? It was judgmental on my part, and the Holy Spirit didn’t let me get away with it. I knew I myself would not be ready to step into the shoes of a martyr for Christ. I had a conversation with the Lord about it, and he comforted the waves of doubt and fear.
No one is ready to be martyred until they stand in that spot and look into the face of Jesus bright and glorious, full of strength and light. Then and only then does He give the supernatural power to endure and overcome.
In May, we thought this mess would be over and here we are with the guillotines being rolled out into our burning cities. And yes, this shocking image is a wake-up call to the Church. We need more real talk about suffering.
The Bible says we will not reign with Him unless we have suffered with him.
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:” (2 Timothy 2:12).
But should our focus be martyrdom? NO. We don’t know about tomorrow. But today is guaranteed along with a hiding place in Christ. We will triumph and get through this, but we cannot clearly see the pathway and how it turns tomorrow.
Keep focused on Jesus minute by minute. He is Captain of the Hosts of Heaven and is worthy of our allegiance until the earth sees his glory. We do not battle flesh and blood or red and blue but spiritual wickedness in high places.
Scripture is replete with stories of good overcoming evil and God supernaturally providing for and protecting His own. In famine, the three famous Jewish patriarchs flourished. Encourage yourself with these truths and feed upon them.
But know the whole story. The beginning of the end is descending and warfare is intense. Throw out the lifeboats tirelessly, yet know God will take care of you. But be very sober. God is shaking all that can be shaken, and only the eternal things remain. Anchor to God through the person of Jesus Christ.
“The people that know their God shall be strong and do exploits.” Daniel 11:32
For those who do not know Him:
“Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and your shall be saved.” Acts 16:31