Today I watched this video from Francis Chan about persecution of Christians in India. It was excruciating to watch. I honestly had no idea this was even going on. As I watched it, my heart felt like it was in a vice. It still feels that way, and I don’t know quite what to do with the feelings. I watched these innocent people being beaten and tortured for their faith. As I was driving home tonight, I was thinking about the images I’d seen and how I felt about the situation. I have no idea what real persecution is. I’ve never even been laughed at for my faith, much less injured or endangered. Knowing that this takes place on a daily basis in places like India makes my heart so heavy. But to know that they are standing for the God of the universe is inspiring.
What could we do for them? I want to step in, to fight back for them, to help in some way. But I’m not in India, I’m in Dallas, TX where the worst thing that happens is being cut off in traffic on 635. So, I will do what I can. I will pray. I will ask the Father to comfort them and encourage them. He loves them and has a plan for them. He will receive glory from their faithfulness and boldness. I pray they will have courage to face those who want to harm them, grace for those who don’t understand. I think of Christs’ words in Matthew 5:10. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To say that I empathize with these people isn’t accurate. I have no idea what they’re going through. But I do know that Jesus does.
1 Peter 2:19-25 (The Message)
The Kind of Life He Lived
18-20You who are servants, be good servants to your masters—not just to good masters, but also to bad ones. What counts is that you put up with it for God’s sake when you’re treated badly for no good reason. There’s no particular virtue in accepting punishment that you well deserve. But if you’re treated badly for good behavior and continue in spite of it to be a good servant, that is what counts with God.
21-25This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.
He never did one thing wrong,
Not once said anything amiss.
They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.
If you think about it, please pray for those who are persecuted for Christs’ sake all over this world. Pray for courage and protection. Most of all, pray that Father would receive all the glory!