I was born in 1961, so I have known only a time when Fidel Castro was influencing Cuba, primarily as that country’s leader. He died last night at the age of 90. Here are a few thoughts about his death that Christ-followers should keep in mind:
- Only God’s power lasts forever. Fidel Castro turned over power to his brother a number of years ago, but his death now brings to an end any power he still had. Only God’s power is omnipotent. Only His kingdom will go on forever.
- All of us will leave something behind when we die. I listened early this morning to reports of Cuban exiles rejoicing in the streets because Castro is gone. The stories of painful raw emotion revealed the influence, albeit negative, of one man. All of us influence somebody while we live, whether for good or bad.
- Death should have no sting for believers, but it should alarm non-believers. CNN reported that Castro often said that he did not fear death. I cannot know Castro’s heart at his death, but if he did not know Christ personally, death that leads to judgment would not have been a welcomed event.
- We should not rejoice over the death of non-believers. Again, I cannot know with certainty Castro’s spiritual condition, but here’s the point: if any person dies without knowing Christ, believers must grieve that tragedy. We can stand uncompromisingly for justice and righteousness while still grieving leaders who do not know Christ.
- We must pray for the church in Cuba. The gospel has spread powerfully in Cuba, despite the political issues in that country. Regardless of what happens in the future relationship between the United States and Cuba, we believers can certainly pray for the church in Cuba—especially in these coming days of transition.
- Many more people died yesterday without having heard of the name of Jesus. As already noted, the influence of the gospel has grown in Cuba. Around the world, though, many more people died yesterday in places where the gospel has not taken root. We must not forget those realities while the news focuses on Castro’s life and death over the next few days.
- We cannot forget the refugees around the world. I am reminded tonight of people who over the years have sought to flee Cuba – and I cannot help but think of the global refugee crisis that the world faces today. The needs are great, but the potential for ministry is huge. Let’s not miss that opportunity and responsibility.
Would you join me in praying for the Cuban people today?