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Sheep Amid Wolves

August 13, 2017

Mosaic at Immanuelskirken (Immanuel Church), Copenhagen, Denmark, Author Ib Rasmussen (PD)

“ ‘Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves’ ” (Matt. 10: 16).

Pres. Bashar al-Assad’s war on the people of Syria is well publicized.  A new report indicates 50% – 80% of Christians in Syria and Iraq have fled for their lives since the Syrian civil war began in 2011 [1].

But there are other less publicized conflicts in which Christian lives are being lost.

  • Sudan     In seeking to establish a uniformly Arabic and Islamic population, Pres. Omar al-Bashir has targeted South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur for extermination [4].  Native men, women, and children – many Christian – are killed daily.  Since 2012, over 4000 bombs have been dropped in the region.  Children have learned to run for cover at the sound of an approaching bomb.  But there is nowhere left to hide.  The displaced are living in refugee camps with meager supplies, and the limited medical aid Doctors Without Borders and similar organizations are permitted to provide [5].  Meanwhile, Sudan and 16 other African nations are experiencing the second year of a drought (and related food shortages) which have imperiled over 38 million people [6].
  • Nigeria     Pres. Muhammadu Buhari has failed to deliver on his promise to deal with serious human rights violations [2].  These include “disappearances”, arbitrary arrests, and torture.  Though Boko Haram is on the wane, most of the 2.5 million displaced in the country lack adequate food, shelter, and healthcare.
  • Myanmar (Burma)     Ongoing conflict between government forces and rebel groups has made an estimated 100,000 Christians refugees in Malaysia [3].

The persecution of Christians is a fact of life in North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Eritrea.  And yet the Christian faith burns strong.

In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?” (Ps. 56: 11).

Lord, our thoughts turn to our brothers and sisters in the faith – those living and dying for Your sake, under conditions so dreadful we can hardly imagine them.  We lift them up to you.  We grieve for their suffering, yet are awed by their strength.

With some part of ourselves, we long to close our eyes and pretend that this persecution is not happening.  And will not reach us here.  But You told us long ago, Lord, that this is not our home.

Protect and defend our persecuted brothers and sisters, wherever they may be.  Comfort and support them, Lord.  Ease their weariness, and soothe their hearts.

And when our own time comes, give us the same strength.

Amen

[1]  Open Doors, “Half of Syria and Iraq’s Christians Have Left Since 2011”, 6/28/17,  https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/stories/half-syria-iraqs-christians-left-since-2011/.

[2]  Human Rights Watch, World Report 2017, “Nigeria – Events of 2016”, https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/nigeria.

[3]  The Christian Post, “Thousands of Christians Flee Myanmar’s Conflict Zones to Escape Religious Persecution” by Anugrah Kumar, 3/18/17, http://www.christianpost.com/news/thousands-of-christians-flee-myanmars-conflict-zones-escape-religious-persecution-177972/.

[4]  Voice of the Martyrs Magazine, Sudan – War on Christians, July 2017 Photo Edition.

[5]  Doctors Without Borders, Sudan, “2015 International Activity Report”,  http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/country-region/sudan.

[6]  IRIN, “Drought in Africa 2017” by Obi Anyadike, 3/17/17, https://www.irinnews.org/feature/2017/03/17/drought-africa-2017.

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

7 Comments
  1. A solid argument could be made that the Christian faith was never organically stronger than during the age of martyrs. I’m in no way saying we should seek martyrdom. But, violence returned in loving faith only strengthens the Body of Christ. What scares me is Christian pastors who use violence and persecution against Christians as justification to preach division and hatred, which diminish our faith in ways no army or terrorist group could hope to achieve.

  2. “Amen” to your prayer, Anna. Jesus warned us that it would be so at the end of this age…

    Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt 24:9-13, KJ2000)

    And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold.” Watching what took place in Charlottesville, VA reminded me of His words, Isn’t this the same spirit behind ISIS and all Islamic terror as well?

    Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour… And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1John 2:18 & 17, ESV2011)

    Abiding IN Christ is our only hope.

    May the Lord bless you and keep you safe, my dear sister,

    Michael

  3. I have to say “Amen” to that prayer. I am from one of the countries that you featured in this post. I know the harsh reality of the sacrifices that Christians have to make. If anyone thinks it is easy to follow the teachings of our Lord, they should take a moment to rethink what they would do with the scripture that teaches that we should love our enemies. When the enemies come for our blood and the blood of our loved ones, our strength fails at times and we have had to turn to G-d to ask him what he was thinking when he asked us to do good to those that hate us. Ultimately we take solace in the example of the one who knew no sin but offered himself to pay for all of our sins. No greater love hath no man shown than his love.

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