In my last blog, I referenced Afghanistan and the Taliban advance, asking where is God while this is happening? My answer was that he is right there in the middle of the suffering showing his love and compassion to those who need him. I do not doubt that anyone who calls out to him will find him. “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you.” (1) God always keeps his promises and we can trust him to do so.
You may wonder how is God there? In what way can he be operating? I can suggest two ways immediately. Afghanistan is considered second only to North Korea in its persecution of Christians and no one knows how many Christians there are because they have to keep their faith secret. Leaving Islam is considered shameful, and Christian converts face dire consequences if their new faith is discovered. Either they have to flee the country or they will be killed. If a Christian’s family discovers they have converted, their family, clan or tribe has to save its ‘honour’ by disowning the believer or even killing them. Christians from a Muslim background can also be sectioned in a psychiatric hospital because leaving Islam is considered a sign of insanity. Despite this, there are Christians in Afghanistan willing to share the Christian Gospel and in these difficult times, they can display a peace that Islam doesn’t understand, a peace that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, and a willingness to love and care for their neighbours as a work for God.
More importantly, God himself is there in the person of the Holy Spirit. Beyond our understanding is the truth that the one true God presents himself to us in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has specific work to do in our day. Jesus told us, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father —the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.” (2) Jesus also said, “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (3) The Holy Spirit can reveal Jesus to us. He does it often through using the voice of Christians but he is not restricted. He can speak directly to the hearts of men himself as he has been doing in Iran over recent years. Although an Islamic country and an enemy of the West thousands have come to faith in Jesus as the Holy Spirit spoke directly to them. There is no reason why this can’t happen in Afghanistan. It may now be an Islamic Emirate opposed to Christianity but where God works he cannot be stopped. Afghanistan was too much for the Russians and the Americans but not for God. There’s a great verse in the Bible that says, “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (4) What men find impossible is easy for God but if it’s so easy why then doesn’t he do something about Afghanistan? What about Somalia while he’s about it? Then there’s Myanmar and North Korea. Let him end the Uighur persecution in China and the terrible civil war in Yemen while he’s about it.
God has said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (5) Our thoughts are currently turned towards Afghanistan but God is continually casting his gaze across the entire world and is actively bringing his plan of salvation to fruition, a plan that brings hope and salvation to all countries and all nationalities. We look on and we can’t understand his ways because he works and thinks differently from us, but we can rest assured that he knows what he’s doing, and a day is coming when we will see the outworking of his plan and we’ll stand in awe of him. The Bible, speaking about Jesus, says, “you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (6) God is at work in Afghanistan right now. It may appear as if the West has abandoned the Afghan people but God hasn’t and through his Holy Spirit men and women will turn to him and find hope where there appears to be none.
- Psalm 50:15
- John 15:26
- John 14:26
- Jeremiah 32:27
- Isaiah 55:8,9
- Revelation 5:9