My heart breaks for the family of Pastor Fred Winters and the congregation of First Baptist Church, Maryville, IL. The death of a beloved pastor is extremely difficult in all situations, but seeing your pastor murdered in the middle of a sermon is outrageous and horrific. I can not even even begin to fathom the grief and dismay.
But we can claim with full assurance that God is good. Heaven is real. Persecution and evil are also very real. Our brother is now seated in the heavens with the other saints who have been martyred. He joins the likes of Stephen, Peter, James, and John the Baptist. He stands as a hero of the faith.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. (Revelation 6:9-11)