Monday, April 29, 2013

Where is the persecution?

I think about my brothers and sisters often. [Hebrews 13:3]

Display at a church where I met for BSF.
With the recent tragedies in the back of my mind and future uncertainties I write this post.

When the Boston Marathon bombing happened I watched a  portion of video that showed the first explosion, I heard people screaming, smoke billowing, an elderly runner picked up off the ground, a man shouting "There's got to be people hurt out there..!" police men, army, runners, spectators jumping in to help clear a path and pull out those in shock and I wondered to myself...
"God, in a situation like that what type of person would I be? The kind to run in fear? Or the kind that stands in the face of danger to help another?"
Today as I climbed into my car from a grocery run it struck me that here in the comfort of the United States of America we have absolutely no idea of what true persecution is.  And although we do see it, the persecution here is very subtle and sneaky and has come upon us in mostly non-violent ways. For example the word tolerance comes to mind and also the phrase "Well that is YOUR truth and what YOU believe..." But no matter what the circumstance the truth of the matter is the sky is always blue, the sun sets and rises everyday these things do not change, they are fact, they are true just the same as God is the Almighty, Righteous and Holy one who sent Jesus to die for our sins, to redeem us to the Father so that we might have fellowship with him.  These are not stories or MY personal truth but THE TRUTH.

The point being, the persecution faced by the body in other countries is far more outright noticeable and tangible. I have no fear of being pulled from my car at the grocery store and dragged to jail because I shared the gospel with someone inside. I do not look over my shoulder when I enter my home each night thinking that someone might have followed me, and neither do I answer the door expecting the authorities to barge in and confiscate all of my Bibles and Christian literature and then sentence me to years in prison.  And again I wonder...
"Would my faith be able to stand with that of my brothers and sisters who face such trials? Again would I be one to run or stand up to those who would be my persecutors, or better yet get on my knees and pray for them?"
Even in these circumstances we see and hear of many victories for the Kingdom of God, men dreaming dreams of Jesus in white robes, a little boy asking about the Bible at a bookstore, and in spite of all the struggles of persecution God's kingdom is growing, his people are taking up the cross and following after him wholeheartedly.  I pray for a faith like that.

While these are questions that will go unanswered for now...I will continue to pray for those who stand (and kneel) in the face of persecution.


Prayer Requests:

1. It's official! I'm going to Colombia as the grand prize winner of the One Body Many Gifts Contest.  Please pray that God would prepare me body and soul for this opportunity to meet with fellow believers.

2. I still need to send my artwork "Lament for the Nations" to Open Doors in California, please pray that I find a safe way, and also that I find the finances to do so as I know it can be expensive to send something so large and fragile.

3. Pray for Uzbekistan #16 on the World Watch List for persecution of Christians. Read more about this country by clicking the link.

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