“The hands bearing chains can bless well”
These were words that I wrote down when a Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) representative facilitated the last session of my church’s first Boot Camp a few weeks ago. The organization has been serving persecuted churches since 1967 and she was there to inform us about what was going on with other christians in the world.
Before the first video was even finished I was already sniffling and could barely hold back tears. In one video, based on actual events, there were some christians and non christians traveling on a bus in another country.The bus was hijacked, they were all taken off the bus (men, women and children), tied up and eventually executed. One of the christians started worshiping God and he was shot…his last fleeting thought was that he didn’t get to tell his persecutors about Jesus. Miraculously he survived and was now ministering Jesus to those who tried to kill him!!
That was the timbre of all the videos. We saw families worshiping in huts, families sharing bibles (one family having it for two days and then passing it on to the next family), families fasting and praying for years for a bible, parachute bibles being dropped in hostile countries and christians imprisoned for doing nothing wrong but just believing in Jesus Christ.
I can’t begin to articulate the impact the information had on me. And when one young girl, whose father and brother were murdered when men attacked their church service, said that she knew she had to forgive those who persecuted them so that she, herself, would not be disqualified from heaven, I was really crying then.
Doesn’t that put things in a different perspective for us? Many of us have a hard time forgiving far less slights.
Today I am sitting at home enjoying the solitude of the house; baby girl is at school, hubby is at work and even Ava, our poodle, is uncharacteristically downstairs somewhere minding her own business. I don’t even know why this is so on my mind. But as I reflect on the information, the representative told us the main thing our brothers and sisters were asking for was PRAYER. Not just any prayer, but…
PRAYER that they wouldn’t give in.
PRAYER that they wouldn’t lose faith.
Yes, monetary donations always helps. Bibles and christian books help. But they wanted PRAYER. Prayer can go where money can’t go.
Sometimes we minimize our own persecution because it might not look like what others are going through. But many of us are in chains in our minds. Invisible chains…. Thought processes, attitudes and dispositions that are so indoctrinated in us that it almost feels like we need to be reprogrammed. Invisible chains that might have a tighter hold than physical chains….
Do we pray that we don’t give in OR do we pray that the persecution, trials and troubles go away?
Let’s PRAY one for another. Not for the persecution, trials and troubles to go away…but that we would face it with faith in God. Faith that He is true to His word. Faith to find ways to encourage ourselves in God. Faith to hold on, even if one verse gets us through. Faith that through our every battle someone else is blessed and come to or want to know God. Let not our living be in vain.
Blessings to you on this beautiful day 🙂