Why does God promise His children protection yet allows them to be martyred?

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This can appear as a difficult question to answer and an apparent contradiction, but let us look at the Bible. The prophet David declares:

“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,” let Israel now say—“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us; then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul; then the swollen waters would have gone over our soul.” Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124).

If it was up to the devil, he would have wiped all the righteous from the face of the earth at once. David like no other person in the Bible faced continual danger and fought many wars, yet the Lord protected him through it all and he lived his life to the full that he may fulfill God’s will. God will never allow the devil to end the lives of His children unless their work is finished. The classic example of this is John the Baptist.

Also, the devil would have wiped the disciples’ lives out of existence but God protected them to carry on His mission till the end. And no one was able to harm them in any way until their mission was fulfilled or greater good would arise. Jesus promised His discples, “they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all” (Mark 16:18).

But when the race is run, and one’s mission is accomplished, we can say with Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness…” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

In all ages, as in the early church, those who truly love their Lord have rejoiced at being “counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” (Acts 5:41; 1 Peter 2:19–23; 3:14; 4:14). So, to be martyred is the highest honor that the Christian can experience. Christ told those who would be His disciples that they would be “hated of all men for my name’s sake” (Matthew 10:22), but He encourged them saying that whoever “…loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39).

Through eternity, those who have been martyred for God will be honored greatly because they followed the example of their Master who gave His life for them.  For this reason Jesus gave us the hope saying, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven… Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).

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In His service,

BibleAsk Team