Thursday, May 22, 2014

Persecution and Prayer

For a few years now my mind has turned more frequently to persecution. As Christians, we are promised it. PROMISED it.

"Remember the words I spoke to you: No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also." John 15:20

"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." 2 Timothy 3:12

Funny how we are slow to cling to this truth. Or how I am.

My mind today has gone to Meriam Ibrahim.,  a Sudanese Christian woman who is being promised lashings and then death for being a Christian. If she recants, she is promised freedom.

And as I drove in my van today and pondered this I wondered how to pray for her.
Take this persecution away? Yet, as believers we're to expect it. What is the goal here?

God's glory.

My mind jumps to our Classical Conversations' timeline card that reads "Persecution spreads the Gospel." Shortly after the Holy Spirit came down in Acts we see how the Lord uses persecution among the believers to spread the Gospel.

We are promised it and it serves a purpose.

So, how to pray for my sister in Christ who is facing a kind of persecution I can only imagine? Might it be the Lord's will to allow this most tragic persecution? He has allowed countless others for a purpose we cannot begin to fathom because the Lord has a greater purpose than our eyes can see.

My response to ANYthing remotely uncomfortable is, "hurry up and make it go away!" Yet I am thinking small and selfishly. Might the Lord's purpose be greater than my temporary comfort?

And so I think of Mrs. Ibrahim. If the Lord has called her to suffer for His Namesake, how can I pray for her? What would I need to walk through such a uncertain and dark time?  I would need boldness and courage. I would need perseverance and unwavering faith. I would need peace and confidence in the One whom I give my unfailing allegiance.

And while I too will pray for her release and freedom,  I need to remember not our will but His be done.

I am encouraged by her. 9 months pregnant and imprisoned with her 20 month year old son, she stands firmly in her faith in her Savior.

She will not recant.

May the Lord fill me with such boldness when persecution, in whatever form it takes, comes to my door. And it will.

Thank you Lord for Mrs. Ibrahim and her faithful witness to You. Continue to strengthen her and supply the grace she needs to endure the trial that is set before her.