It was Sunday, and the congregation of Grace Sonmin Church in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, had gathered for their weekly worship service. Even though their country was now free from oppressive Communist rule, radical Muslims still blatantly opposed the church. The oppression had simply changed hands from one terrorist authority to another.
Just as the visiting pastor wrapped up his sermon, a loud explosion in the back of the church rumbled the building. A bomb. In one moment, the believers went from worshiping God to frantically running for their lives. They tried to flee into the hallway, but another bomb exploded along their escape route. Bodies and blood were strewn everywhere in the church that was once called “sanctuary.”
An elderly woman lay on the floor, unable to move. The Bible she had been studying moments ago in a worship service fell next to her, stained with her blood. It was opened to a page where she had circled three verses sometime before the attack on her church. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:7–9).
The radical Muslims considered the innocent people expendable for the sake of their cause. But the believers’ deaths gleamed like jewels as a testimony to God’s faithfulness. The enemy may have broken the elderly woman’s body—her “jar of clay”—but her inner treasure was revealed as her spirit ascended to heaven a few days after the attack. We are more aware than ever before that death may come unexpectedly at the hands of our enemy. Yet you do not have to fear death. After all, the worst our enemy can do to us is to kill our mortal bodies. Your physical body is not the real “you.” Be comforted today, knowing the treasure of your soul cannot be touched.
This is one of the readings from the book, Extreme Devotion, available from VOM’s online bookstore. You can also receive devotional thoughts daily via email. Sign up here.