We are presented with horrible news about our fellow Christians every day.
This week, Syria captured our attention, and we were disgusted with what we saw.
People on social media and journalists were appalled by the sight of a three-year old dead child on a Turkish beach; the child and his parents were escaping Syria’s oppression and only the father survived the journey.
I cannot say whether this child and his family were Christian because adherents from all religions aside from the extreme Islam that ISIS demands, are persecuted in Syria. But this child was not the first to die trying to escape the oppression, and many of the refugees are Christians.
But I do know that Christians are disappearing completely from a number of countries, including Syria. Which means that a vast number of Syrian refugees are Christian.
Many advocates for the refugees in European countries are urging their governments to pledge certain numbers of refugees per country. And many European governments are doing just that, which is amazing.
But there are so many refugees; nearly nine million are seeking to escape religious and political persecution by Syria. Way more than any one country, or continent for that matter, can handle. Sadly, the U.S. is barely interested.
While Syria’s persecution is certainly in the limelight this week because of that horrible sight on the Turkish beach, it is certainly not alone in persecuting Christians and other religious groups.
Just this past week or so:
- 9 Christians were arrested in China for protesting the removal of crosses from churches.
- Christians in India commemorated the 2008 massacre and attacks in Orissa by protesting growing persecution.
- Zhang Kai, a Beijing lawyer was arrested on August 25 for offering legal aid to Christian churches, and may now be charged with the crime of spying.
As the days, weeks, months and years go by and we watch more and more Christians martyred, tortured, imprisoned and/or forced to leave their homes, we wonder.
We wonder if God has abandoned us. We wonder why he just doesn’t stop this nonsense. We wonder “how much longer, Lord?” We wonder if we would be able to withstand such pressure on our faith.
We cry out ” Lord, do not keep silent. Do not keep your peace or be still!”
And in that simple prayer, we find peace that God is never silent.
Each time that one of his children stand up for their faith despite the consequences and pain, it gives us strength to endure.
If they can face this, so can I, and so can you.
If you are worried about strength to handle persecution, cry out to God, he will hear you. He will not be silent.
He will strengthen you, just as he is strengthening the faith and resolve of the thousands upon thousands of Christians around the world.
Lord, be with the Syrian refugees. Put it upon the governments to take them in. Let us hear the stories that the refugees have to say. Let their spiritual strength boost our own. Be with all Christians who are suffering persecution, including those in China and India where their suffering is increasing. Show us ways, Lord, that we can help our fellow Christians. Do not be silent, Lord, and give all your people peace. In Jesus’ name we pray.