We are One Body
Tonight, I came across the following article, “Muslim Persecutions of Christians: October.” While the source site is a politically based magazine and the article focuses on persecution from followers of Islam, persecutions come from many sides and take many forms. It is imperative that we lift up all of our brothers and sisters in the faith in prayer.
If we really believe that prayer moves the hand of God, and we really believe that the Church universal is one body under Christ, then how can we not? If we will lift up Aunt Bertha’s bunion in our church services, how much more must we lift up those who fear for their safety, their livelihoods and their lives because they confess the name of Christ?
While it is usually not reasonable to go to places where persecution occurs and fight against it (and in fact may be counterproductive and possibly not even be Biblical), we can petition our omnipresent and Almighty Lord to preserve, protect, and at the very least encourage and strengthen those who have no visible means of support.
We also have the opportunity to petition our Congressional and other governmental representatives to take action. This is no different from, and completely consistent with, any other requests to defend human rights across the globe. It is not enough, nor is it credible, to simply make generic demands. We need to get educated on specific instances, trends, and the complexities intrinsic to these problems. Our political leaders can best use specific solutions and options for actions. It is not usually enough just to denounce an act.
Another option is to support NGOs (non-governmental organizations) who specialize in helping the persecuted Church and human rights issues in general. Again, it is imperative to become educated about any group you want to support to verify their perspectives and methods are consistent with your values. Even when they might diverge, you can still learn a lot from their publications.
Pray. Get informed. Pray some more. Listen to the Lord’s direction for any action. Keep praying. Someday it may be our turn to identify with Paul in II Corinthians 4:7-18:
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
May we find strength in the prayers of others when we need them most.
Day 24 Praise: Praise to the Faithful One who will neither abandon us nor allow us to deny Him when the weight of the world demands our surrender.