By Shari Abbott, Reasons for Hope* Jesus
Christians are being slaughtered for their faith in the Middle East. They have not been silent about their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The questions have been raised, “why is the world silent” and “what can be done?”
This article was scheduled to be posted on Friday, but this message can’t wait. Last week I received an email from a friend with a message being broadcast on the internet. Some of you may have already seen this message that was texted from Sam Malone, Director of Crisis Relief International:
“We lost the city of Queragosh (Qaraqosh). It fell to ISIS and they are beheading children systematically. This is the city we have been smuggling food to. ISIS has pushed back Peshmerga (Kurdish forces) and is within 10 minutes of where our CRI team is working. Thousands more fled into the city of Erbil last night. The UN evacuated it’s staff in Erbil. Our team is unmoved and will stay. Prayer cover needed!”
This information was widely circulated on the Internet. Posted a few days later on Christian Relief International’s website was an update telling that their teams are safe and there has been an outpouring of interest and support. I ask, why does it take an alarming Internet message to create in us an interest in what’s happening to our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world?
(Be sure to read to the end of this article and join in prayer for persecuted Christians.)
Why Are We Silent?
While much is written on this I don’t find many good answers. Most articles talk about the silence and the problems it creates, but not the “why” of the silence. Is it apathy? Or is it just not as troubling if the persecution isn’t personal? Do the images and reports on TV and the internet no longer shock us as they once did? Are Americans just so far removed from the persecution of Christian brothers and sisters around the world that we don’t feel their pain? Are we just too busy living our own lives? Probably all of these questions hold some truth. And I don’t suggest that I have an answer, but I would like to propose another possible reason for the “silence of the lambs in America.”
Before I get to that, let us remember that this problem is not new, nor is it limited to America. For many years reigns of terror have been attributed to the silence of good people. A popular quote used by many (but of uncertain date and origin) clearly gives warning of the dangers or silence:
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’’
The atrocities of World War II were partially attributed to silent shepherds throughout Europe who said nothing from the pulpit (I say partially attributed, because the major factor was the evil in the hearts of men, which is also true in the atrocities taking place today). We can debate whether pastors across Europe were really aware of what was happening around them. At that time they did not have the access to global media outlets like we do today. With the speed at which news travels in our time, we cannot claim ignorance as a reason for silence.
We Must Not Be Silent Lambs
In speaking of “lambs” I refer to those who belong to the Good Shepherd. A lamb is a baby sheep, under the age of one. They have usually not produced any offspring, so perhaps a reason for the silence of Jesus’ “lambs” is their being young in the faith. Perhaps it’s a lack of knowledge or confidence to speak God’s truths that only come with spiritual growth.
But what about Jesus’ “sheep” in America? What about those who belong to Jesus and are mature in the faith. All too often they also feel inadequate to make a difference. They are redeemed sinners, who know the value of human life and the sufficiency of the grace of Jesus Christ. They know the Scripture verses that speak of persecution for Christ’s sake and perseverance by His power. Certainly they understand the atrocities of sin in this world.
Persecution for faith in Jesus is very foreign to most Americans. We still live in a country that protects our rights to gather together for worship and to speak publicly of what we believe (pray it always be so). But sadly that is not the case on many foreign soils. Persecution for faith in Christ, and for gathering to fellowship and worship, is increasing at an alarming rate. And in the Middle East it has escalated to the highest level of evil.
We may feel helpless, because geographically we are so far from those who are suffering. But I ask you to remember that we are in this battle with them. We are united with them in Christ and when they suffer, we suffer also (1 Corinthians 12:26). We are to feel their pain. We are to carry their burden (Galatians 6:2).
We might not be able to be physically present with them to lighten the load or uphold them, but we should never underestimate the importance of praying for them. We should be in continuous prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters. If it were one of our biological siblings, we would feel the urgency to pray, and to pray without ceasing. In the same way we should feel the urgency to pray for our spiritual brothers and sisters. When one part of the body suffers, we all suffer….and so does the Head of the Body.
Remember this is a spiritual battle that is being played out in the physical world.
Don’t be Silent
The words of prayer will always be heard! Many of us pray for America’s soldiers who are bravely fighting in the Middle East, but are we praying Jesus’ saints who are persecuted for their faith? On American soil, we might never be on the front lines of attack for our faith, but we can boldly stand for those who are in countries around the world. Do what you can by supporting ministries like Crisis Relief International, Samaritan’s Purse and other relief groups that enter into the battlefield of Christian persecution to minister physically and spiritually to our brothers and sisters who are in peril.
Remember, just as with Israel in the days of old, it is God who fights for His children. Whatever happens in this world, He is still on the Throne. He is still in control….and He is always good! We know that God delights in hearing the petitions of His people, so begin to pray today.
God loves all His children and He has promised: …the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (2 Tim 4:18)
Make your voice heard, wherever and whenever you can…and especially before God in prayer.
Last week’s Got Questions covered, If God knows what I need and want, why is prayer important? Read the article to further understand why prayer is vitally important.
Prayer is important TO God and it is important FOR us. Our brothers and sisters in Christ need us to intercede for them. Begin today to pray for them. You might want to start by praying this prayer with me.
Father, we ask your protection upon your children worldwide, especially those who are being persecuted for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our hearts are broken over the suffering they are experiencing and the atrocities that are being inflicted on many.
- We ask that You give them wisdom in what they say and do.
- We ask that You give them comfort and peace to find rest in You.
- We ask that You give them strength to persevere, and
- We ask that you shower them with Your joy in the midst of all persecution and fear.
We thank you for our country—where we are still able to speak Your Word and gather to worship You. May we never take for granted that freedom and may we be diligent in our efforts to protect it.
We ask all these things in the mighty and powerful name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever. AMEN.
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Recent Got Questions?
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