Today while many people will be attending Good Friday services in North America and in other places, reflecting on the cross of Christ and the sacrifice that was made that we might have life, I found myself in a meeting with the Field Director of the CMA (Christian Missionary Alliance) in Cambodia---David Manfred who has been in Cambodia since 1995 with his family. As we were having lunch, one of the unexpected divine interruptions was the arrival of several Khmer pastors who are part of the Khmer Evangelical Church(KEC) of the CMA. For me, it was pure joy meeting these older Christian men who survived the Khmer Rouge era, some of them former Khmer Rouge soliders but who are now pastors and elder statesman in the Khmer church here.
I looked at them and found myself tearing up as I thought once again of the faithfulness of God and how He preserved such a remnant in this nation in the midst of all the atrocities in which 90% of the Christian church was wiped out during the Khmer Rouge Era. Now here we are some 30 plus years later, huddle together, was a former Khmer Rouge soldier who is now a pastor, sitting along side those who themselves endured much suffering under that regime. They entered into their Good Friday for 3 years, 8 months and 20 days during the Khmer Rouge Era, they entered into a level of suffering that we in the West will never fully understand. But this suffering perhaps is the unique ''gift'' God has given the Khmer church and the Khmer people for today as I saw these brothers in Christ, I couldn't help but think they are living testimonies that we are called to enter into the suffering of Good Friday, but it is not the end, for Easter Sunday awaits and we rise again in His resurrection power where new life and new hope is born. Their lives reflect the power of the Gospel, its power to forgive, its power to reconcile, its power to heal, its power to restore, its power to redeem---this is the power of the Cross, that brings sinners of all sorts together and unites them as one in Christ. Jesus who knew no sin, bore our sins, bore their sins and nailed them to the cross once and for all. Their pain, their suffering, their sacrifice is a small glimmer of what He endured for us all and yet as I look at their faces, I left thankful today for this Good Friday encounter as I thought of their lives, I thought of His life and was reminded by the words in Hebrews 12:2 that Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him, scorning its shame and now He sits at the right hand of the throne of God!
What a Savior we have! He is risen and so too these Khmer pastors have risen from their own graves and now experience the joy of living a resurrected life in Him!