Religious persecution is a never-ending battle. Innocent Christians are crucified every day in the name of God for believing in a higher way of life. On our home turf, distance protects us; yet examples around the world appear in our own living room. If only everyone would come to terms with God’s peace! My heart remains in remorse over the wrong direction we are heading today. But, amongst these times of terror, the steadfast still walk with Jesus to praise and spread the Lord’s words of hope. Blessed be the faithful!
Some may not be aware my wife did missionary work in Guinea, West Africa for the International Mission Board. Her humanitarian efforts served the Susu tribes where they dug wells for fresh water. She also held a Vacation Bible School for pre-school children in the capital city of Conakry. Her living arrangement was in a compound enclosed with a fifteen-foot cement wall and broken bottles placed on top for safety. Two security guards stood guard twenty-four hours a day. Amidst the 110 degree weather, lack of fresh running water, recurring power outages, illness from vaccine shots, and contaminated foods, she and her group forged onward; it was necessary for the Islamists to know God loves everyone.
But, months of pre-planning and training was mandatory before she could enter Africa. The World Mission Boards warns missionaries to be careful who you speak to, not to look militants in the eye, and to dress in public as one of the crowd. They could not take for granted the deep commitment the Soussou had to their own religion. Not everyone finds peace in the spirit of Christian voodoo where God is the last word. Amid the incomprehension of entering a Third World country, she boarded an airplane with a round-trip ticket and the church’s prayer for her safe return. God bless our missionaries!
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:12)
By God’s mercy, my wife was one of the lucky few to serve and leave Africa without incident. The internet is filled with stories of those murdered in the hands of the Peace Corps and other religious affiliations. It is obvious Christians still walk, today, in the suffering Christ paid for our sins. China and Pakistan, for example, recently suffered mass genocides and burnings of their churches. Bangladesh murders secular activists and Christians, more or less with impunity. Statistics reveal North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Africa, Iraq, and Syria persecute Christians more than any other faith group. Making matters worse, governments in the West and the UN do not offer emergency help to victims.
With the influx of Middle Eastern immigrants and other foreigners into the United States, the religious tide is shifting dramatically here too. Bibles, crosses, and our churches are burned; they ban even Christmas trees and greeting cards in some areas. I wonder what Jesus would think if He walked our world today?
In biblical days, Jesus also suffered much religious persecution. He toured a radius of forty miles around Nazareth preaching His Father’s word and often hid in different lands for His protection. Unlike my wife, who stayed behind a cement wall, His temporary home was in a cave or the middle of a desert. But as in today’s times, very few people believed He was the Messiah, only those who witnessed His miracles. What words or actions does one need to see to prove God really exists? It’s not about color or creed, but receiving the grand prize – eternal life in heaven!
To the families who lost loved ones in the oppression of trusting in God’s greatness, have faith knowing persecution and true Christianity are inseparable. Jesus died on the cross for our sins – even for those who denounced His existence. Missionaries and all other Christians must realize God warns His righteous saints they will be persecuted for believing in Him.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12)
Have solace for your loved ones, and others who served the Lord, and believe in His name because they will be forever in His presence. If I had to lose my life for someone, let it be for Jesus! It would not be in vain for mercy reigns over ignorance! For two thousand years, believers have fought the war of standing up for God. Many procrastinate changing their life’s sins for the anticipation of the return of Christ Jesus. With the love the Lord placed in my heart, I bleed for those who choose not to concede before they die. Fathers, mothers, sisters and sons, Christ sent you a personal invitation to live in heaven with Him. What are you waiting for? It’s in you! Open your eyes and listen to your soul. Let the books of the Gospel lead your spirit for they are not fiction but the genealogy of your life.