The War On Believers
The eighteen-year-old young lady trembled and her stomach churned over the vile crime. Tears streamed down her face. She sobbed uncontrollably as she learned the fate of her dear friend.
Her friend, Fereshetah, had shared the gospel with her and taken her to church several times to study God’s Word. Their hearts were bound together in Christian love.
Danger surrounded them. Fanatic Islamists had beaten a young woman to death for the offense of wearing her head covering (hijab) loosely. The Islamic oppression inspired large demonstrations.
Recently after a secret church service, the attendees left intermittently in small groups, to avoid attracting attention. Fereshetah walked her younger friend home, cautiously watching for possible danger. After leaving her friend’s home, she chose an indirect route home to avoid the protests. Her heart raced as she considered what could happen to her. She hurried her pace. But the demonstrations had expanded, and the religious police confronted her. They accused her of wearing her hijab too loose. After searching her, they found a Bible in her burqa.
The religious police beat her and accused her of inciting the crowd to deny Allah and follow Jesus. They continued the violent beatings until she was fading in and out of consciousness. They stripped and molested her. They said they would make it impossible for her to carry the Bible and give out Bibles. Using power saws, they cut off her hands and legs as she bled out. They gathered her body parts and delivered them to her mother’s doorstep.
Christians came, wept, and helped the mother. Caring Christians prepared the body, and then gave her a burial that honored this martyr for Jesus Christ.
Fereshetah’s friend learned from the violent attack on her friend the cost of following Jesus. We don’t know the rest of her story. But, probably like many new believers in her country, she continued to follow the Lord, no matter the cost.1
This is not an isolated incident in the 21st century. The World Watch List from October 2020 thru September 2021, listed these statistics on the Open DoorsUSA.org website:
5,898: Christians killed for faith-related reasons.
5,110: churches and other Christian buildings attacked.
4,765: believers detained without trial, arrested, sentenced, or imprisoned.
3,829: the number of Christians abducted for faith-related reasons.
312 Million: In the top 50 World Watch List countries alone, 312 million Christians experience high levels of persecution and discrimination for their choice to follow Christ.
1 in 7: Christians worldwide experience high levels of persecution
In America, lawsuits attempt to prohibit public prayer and religious monuments. Public speech is censored. Business owners face lawsuits to prevent them from practicing personal convictions concerning marriage, homosexualism, or transgenderism. Secularist organizations sue Christian organizations for excluding unbelieving employee applicants. Educational and government entities pressure parents to allow transgender boys to share locker rooms and showers with their daughters.
We can understand why the Psalmist said in Psalm 11:1-2 (KJV), “In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.” I Peter 5:8 says that “the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Paul tells us to wear the shield of faith so we can quench the fiery darts of the wicked. (Ephesians 6:16).
In Psalm 11:3-4 the Psalmist continued: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.” The Lord is in control.
Proverbs 29:25 reminds us that “The fear of man bringeth a snare, but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” Isaiah 26:3 comforts with these words, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
Trust Christ and go forward, just like Paul did in Acts 20:24. “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”