Persecuted but not abandoned



Isn’t it amazing how many liberties we take for granted?


For example, I presume daily that I will travel to and from my home, go to work, share my faith, and attend church services without fear or intimidation.


Such presumption is not an option, however, for hundreds of thousands of Christians worldwide.



A History of Violence

In this past century alone, an estimated 200 million Christians were murdered for their faith.  That figure is higher than that of any other century in human history.


Jeff King, President of International Christian Concern, notes that “from Indonesia, to India, to the Horn of Africa, believers are economically marginalized, denied education for their children, beaten, tortured, raped, imprisoned, and, sadly, even murdered for their faith.  The oppression is limitless, and usually unseen by the world.”


There are countries on each continent in which a relentless war is waged against anyone who professes to be a Christian.


In some places, particularly in the Middle and Far East, the war is open, aided and abetted by the political and religious leadership.


The burning of churches, torching of villages in which Christians are the predominant religious group, imprisonment and torture of pastors and lay preachers, and establishment of second-class citizenship for Christians is commonplace.


In other countries, the attacks are more insidious and harder to fight.  The lack of tolerance for Christians, even here in America today, gives one pause.


A Sleeping Bride

Believers who are aware of persecution in the church recognize it as a spiritual war, to be expected as the gospel spreads through the nations.  But here in the West, many Christians seem oblivious to the plight of their brothers and sisters.  Nominal Christianity doesn’t seem to allow room for the reality of suffering for the name of Christ.  


Many would struggle to reconcile the prosperity gospel with the loss of freedom, property, and sometimes life that fellow believers face through persecution.  If God’s plan is to make us all wealthy and to give us whatever we ask for, how do we explain the fate of believers who lose it all for Christ?


Present-day martyrs
  • Iranian Pastor Youcef Naderkhani has been sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity and refusing to recant his faith in Christ.
  • Pakistani mother of five Asia Bibi has been sentenced to death for allegedly blaspheming the name of Muhammad.  She languishes in a cell not much bigger than a bathroom stall.  Two high-level Pakistani officials who spoke out in her favor were assassinated.
  • Young Christian girls are forced to marry Muslim men and recant their Christian faith.  According to Father Filopateer Gamil of St. Mary’s Church in Giza, Egypt, the number of Christian girls abducted and coerced into converting to Islam since the Arab Spring revolution that began almost a year ago has skyrocketed.
  • And in Nigeria, the number of Christians killed in vicious attacks this year continues to rise.

The response?

Few issues grab my heart more than the plight of Christians who are persecuted for their faith.  With the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) set for this Sunday, November 13, may more of us commit to pray for our persecuted Christian siblings and to take positive steps to help them.



How do you plan to help the persecuted?

 

 

Comments

  1. Alison, thank you for this extremely informative and heartfelt post.

    My heart aches when I read and see the atrocities that are being carried out to the family of God.

    I often wish that I could do more. I continue to pray that the hearts of the leaders of the countries will melt, and that they will turn from their wicked ways. In the meantime, all we can do is mobilise prayer for the persecuted. Also praying that it does not just take a yearly event to highlight their plights, but that we willall take up the mantle of a prayer warrior, continually interceding in pray until something happens.

    Praise God, there is no distance in prayer!

    God Bless

  2. @Carole in the UKCarole, that's the truth: there truly is no distance in prayer and it makes the world of difference. If only more people would take this issue seriously, as you said, not just once per year but on a regular basis, we'd see a lot of change in the situation. God continues to be faithful, however!

  3. Thanks Alison for this provoking post! My heart has been burdened for the persecuted Christians and I'm trying to share that passion with my children. Your post is so well written that I plan to read it to them and then we will pray.

  4. Yes, thanks for calling this out! I take our freedoms for granted. I love Tricia's comment about sharing this passion with our children.

  5. @TriciaThanks, Tricia! It's important to get kids involved in understanding what standing for Christ means for so many young people who don't enjoy the liberties we take for granted.

  6. @Susan DiMickeleSusan, involving young people and creating awareness of the plight of the persecuted is a must in my book. To whom much is given, much is expected!

  7. No body has a right to snatch the life of any one. Cruelty is cruelty.
    I pray for Asia Bibi's life and also for the stopping of all killing worldwide through terroism in any form. I love to see all humans loving each other and living in harmony. After all we are all children of one single dad ADAM and EVE is mother of us all.
    God Almighty created all of us and to HIM we are going to return eventually.
    Brothers and sisters are supposed to behave.
    I have joined your informative site and I request you to join my site sooner the better for the mutual follow up.

    Have a great great weekend.

  8. @Tariq MianYou too, Tariq. Thanks for commenting on the horror of what's going on.

  9. Thanks for sharing this. My husband returned last night from an overseas mission trip. Together he and I are processing his trip, the lessons learned, and what it means for the life we live here in the U.S. Your words are timely and greatly appreciated.

    Blessings!

  10. @DeidraBlessings to you, too, Deidra! Mission trips put life into perspective and help clarify why we're here in the first place. I know it must have been a great blessing and a life-changing event for your husband. I know that going on one such trip ten years ago had a tremendous impact on my life. It still does!

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