Same Kind of Suffering?


1 Peter 5:9 "Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings."

Sometimes I wonder if we as Western Christians really do know about the sufferings of our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Compared to 99% of the Earth’s population, we live in the lap of luxury. All we need to do is turn the tap on to get cold running water. Our stores are filled with goods and groceries. We can practically go anywhere we want to across our land. These blessings we take for granted.

However, billions of people on this planet have limited access to water which is usually not clean. If there are any stores, most of them have depleted shelves. And as for going anywhere they want, billions of people are trapped in areas of poverty and oppression, enslaved from the moment they were born to the very second that they die.

This morning I want to tell you about a brave brother in our faith who is suffering in Iran. His name is Youcef Nadarkhani, a 34 year old Christian pastor who has been in prison since October of 2009. He was arrested for objecting to the Iranian policy that all children, including his own 8 & 9 year old sons, would be required to study the Quran at school. Youcef protested that the constitution of Iran allows for the freedom of religion. Originally he was charged with protesting, but then the local secret police and Iranian revolutionary court amended the charges to apostasy and evangelism. He was sentenced to death in November 2010.

Yesterday, the appeals court upheld that Youcef was guilty of these charges and should be sentenced to death. His family is being cared for by relatives. His execution may take place today because the Iranian government does not want an international outcry, which may bring unrest among the Iranian people. If Youcef is executed, he will be the first Christian in twenty years to be hanged for his faith.

So now we are aware of the suffering of one of our brothers. How does our faith then, compare to Youcef’s? Are we really Christians who are ready to give all for The Way? Or are we just spiritual people, stumbling along in our own way?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we say that we love You because it’s easy to think, say, and do that. If our circumstances were different, if our lifestyles were more restricted, if our faith was being persecuted, would we still love You? The blessings that we experience and often take for granted are gifts from God. Forgive us for being ungrateful and pardon us for being ignorant about what’s happening to real Christians around the world.

We pray for Youcef and his family. We ask for mercy and clemency. We hope for a way to be found for Youcef to be set free and to return to his family Allow him to be a pastor of Your people again. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.

If you would like more information about Youcef Nadarkhani and other Christians who are in prison for their faith, please visit the following website at www.prisoneralert.com

John Stuart traqair@aol.com
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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