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For Christ

June 19, 2016

Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Source http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWvHr-0BXhc&feature=plcp, Author Voice of America News (“Syrian Refugees Seek Out Smugglers”) (PD – US Govt.)

“We endure various attacks.  But we do not ask God why He allows suffering.  Birds sing, not because they have an answer, but because they have a song.  We too have a new song to the praise of God.”

–        Richard Wurmbrand (minister and Christian author, imprisoned and tortured for his anti-Communist stance)

Ours is a suffering world.

Persecution

Christians have not yet experienced this in the United States.  Elsewhere, however, Christians are persecuted, imprisoned or driven from their homes, and murdered outright for their faith [1].  This occurs regularly in North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, India, China, Indonesia, and around the globe [2].

Refugee Crisis

The persecution of our brothers and sisters is taking place against the backdrop of the European refugee crisis.  Over two million men, women, and children are believed to have fled Syria, since the conflict began [3A].  Worldwide, there are an estimated 60 million displaced persons, more than ever before [3B].

Opportunity, Revival, and the Great Commission

This presents the church in the United States with a two-pronged opportunity we have yet to recognize:  an opportunity both to live the Gospel of Christ and spread it.

In the face of corruption, sex scandals, cults of personality, the so called prosperity gospel, materialism, and other ills of the modern church, many of us have prayed for revival.  God seems to have answered that prayer as only He could, by using evil for good.

There are now millions of souls in desperate physical, emotional, and spiritual need, all accessible to us and many for the first time receptive.

If Christians want to see increased spiritual interest, we have only to demonstrate it.  If we want to make converts, win hearts for Christ; if we want to have an impact on the world, we have only to reach out.  We have only to show our love.

Nominal Christians

“Shame on us nominal Christians.  The name of Christ is wasted on us.”

–        Lebanese police officer, “Proclaiming Jesus Among the Wolves”, Voice of the Martyrs Magazine, June 2016

According to law enforcement sources, over 100 Americans – primarily alienated young Muslims – have been radicalized, and gone to train or fight in Syria [4].

The politically neutral non-profit organization, Doctors Without Borders, sends volunteer physicians and medical supplies “where the patients are”:  to epidemics, natural disasters, and armed conflicts, in 60 countries [5].

Where are the Christians serving?  Surely, there is enough need to go around. 

True, there are Christian charities working with the refugees.  Catholic Relief Services is among them [6].  How many of us have taken out second mortgages to support that effort?  Not many, I dare say.

How much of our collection plates is earmarked for the persecuted church?  Have any of us thought about foregoing that extension on the house, the new pool, and instead donating those funds?

Yes, ours is a suffering world.  And this is a crisis of historic proportions.

It would be so much easier to turn away.  But Christ said to the church of Laodicea, “ ‘So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth’ ”(Rev. 3: 16).

We have been forewarned.

[1]  Voice of the Martyrs, http://www.persecution.com.

[2]  Statista, “Index of persecution of Christians in countries worldwide 2016”, http://www.statista.com/statistics/271002/persecution-of-christians-worldwide/.

[3A]  NPR, “UN:  2 Million Refugees Have Fled Syria”, 9/3/13,  http://www.npr.org/2013/09/03/218627276/u-n-2-million-refugees-have-fled-syria.

[3B]  NY Times, “A Mass Migration Crisis and It May Yet Get Worse” by Rod Nordland, 10/31/15, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/01/world/europe/a-mass-migration-crisis-and-it-may-yet-get-worse.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news.

[4]  NY Times, “US Is Trying to Counter ISIS’ Efforts to Lure Alienated Young Muslims” by Eric Schmitt, 10/4/14, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/us/us-is-trying-to-counter-isiss-efforts-to-lure-alienated-young-muslims.html?_r=0.

[5]  Doctors Without Borders, http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/.

[6]  Catholic Relief Services, http://www.crs.org.

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

 

15 Comments
  1. I cannot even fathom what it would be like to suffer persecution for my faith–it is my worst nightmare.

    • I fear there are dark days ahead. We can only trust that God will give us strength, should the time come.

      • Yes, trusting Him always…and trying to “do not fear” 🙂

  2. tabitha59reachingout permalink

    How timely! We heard a message this morning about being lukewarm. There are a lot of ‘fringe’ people in our church, but even the stronger ‘core’ of the body isn’t near ready to be tortured or persecuted for our faith. This includes me. Very sobering, but we need to think about this. Thank you, Anna.

    • I certainly am not ready, Debbie.

      • tabitha59reachingout permalink

        One thing is good. God will prepare us if we do our part. He is always faithful. Bless you, Anna. 🙂

  3. Excellent article Anna. Thank you.

  4. I find it interesting how that most of the “Western Church” reacts with surprise,shock,or even disbelief when confronted with information regarding suffering for our faith.Sometimes it seems as if we(in America)have become deluded into believing that we are exempt from such testing of our faith simply because we live where we do.I have long wondered if this is not in part because of the ease in which we are free to worship versus those in the countries you listed risking their very lives to do so. Certainly,the bible does not give American Christians a free pass when it comes to suffering for our faith,though it appears many believe otherwise.

    On that note,one has to wonder why it is that what was once a predominantly Christian nation is doing so little to open it’s doors to receive those being persecuted.There doesn’t seem to be much effort being exerted to stopping the floodgates from being opened for refugees of other faiths. To the untrained eye(my own)it almost seems as if that is part of some well organized plan.Indeed,Christians in many other countries are viewed as expendable.As you so eloquently stated,there is enough need to go around and you make some heart wrenching points about the fact that we could all do more,but are not.

    Until more recent times(relatively speaking)the predominant viewpoint had always been that the Church would indeed suffer terribly before the coming of the Lord.It has only been with the rise in carnality in our churches in the last two centuries that we have focused more upon worldly prosperity than spiritual growth.As you say Anna,there appear to be dark days on the horizon,and we would be wise servants to become familiar with Jesus teachings about the matter.

    Thank you for such a powerful and well written post.

    • American Christians do believe themselves immune from the persecution Christians experience elsewhere. Our culture is so self-oriented and materially driven that suffering seems out of place…almost in bad taste. We foolishly confuse legal skirmishes over public nativity scenes with full out persecution. Meanwhile, the real persecution — indeed, extermination in some areas — of Christians overseas barely rates a mention on the news.

      American Christians prefer the prosperity gospel to any talk of sacrifice: God as Santa Claus. Heap praise on us for American exceptionalism, so long as that exceptionalism requires no effort on our part. As you said in another context, Ron, America’s exceptionalism came from a foundation of Judeo-Christian values and beliefs. But that foundation has been greatly eroded.

      I am as guilty as anyone. I worry about my finances and my health, the well-being of my loved ones. And I worry what the future holds for the children I’ve had a small part in raising. God help us all.

      • I believe Anna,that if we were posed the question we would all answer that we have many fears in this life. Knowing the scriptures teach that “perfect love casts out all fear” is a reminder to me that I have not yet arrived at such a lofty place in Him. If I’m being honest I would say that I too have a list of concerns,worries,and doubts.

        I also know that deep within us is a peace that passes all understanding,a peace that is given unto us that covers us when life overwhelms us. A peace that somehow confirms what we know in our hearts to be true,even when the struggles of this life dim our vision of it: we are destined for a new home whose builder and Maker is God. As you know,this life is but a vapor,it is fleeting at best. It is filled with worry and doubt about many things. Yet for all of that we can rest in the assurance that there is a steady,unseen hand that guides us through it all. This world is not our final dwelling place but a brief stop in the journey,and I take great comfort in knowing this.

        Have a blessed day Anna. God has you in the palm of his mighty hands.

      • Thank you for this beautiful reminder, Ron. You are a blessing.

  5. We are so insulated in America, even with lone wolf attacks… The mentality does seem to be if it does not directly affect us we are detached from the suffering. Media won’t report anything that stands in defense of Christianity. Sad. It affects each of us as brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you, and thanks for reading my blog

  6. Truly, we’ve had it so good for so long and cannot
    begin to imagine the realities of actual persecution.
    My prayer is that the Lord’s strength and spirit of
    boldness will be upon us when the time comes! 🙂 ♥ ❤

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