Many years ago, when I was shocked and angry that my father had died even though I had prayed for him to be healed, I found myself (a relatively new christian) reading the bible trying to find some comfort from the Word. I was bouncing back and forth between anger at God and desperately seeking His comfort. As I was reading, the short little verse in the book of John, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) startled me into a realization of just how human Jesus really is. He cried at the death of Lazarus and all of the pain that his death had caused people that Jesus loved, even though He knew he was going to raise him from the dead! Still to this day, I am captivated by a God who allows Himself to feel our pain. That was a choice He made. He didn't have to feel any of it. He could have remained above it all. But, this is the God we serve. A flesh and blood Jesus, who bleeds with us, suffers with us and weeps with us, uncontrollable, wrenching sobs of grief over our pain and our losses. I am so very comforted by that truth as I look around me and see the suffering of loved ones who are in pain, suffering through illnesses that seem to be hopeless, that may even take their lives. Jesus wept then and He weeps with us today. We do not need to pretend we are above the pain to “prove our faith.” Even though we believe, like Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus, we weep over the suffering and death of those we love and hold very close to our hearts. The amazing thing is, we do not weep alone. Jesus wept...
|This young mother and her little boy stand outside their house that has been destroyed because she is married to a young pastor (only 31 years old), who has been faithful to preach the Word of God, in spite of repeated beatings and arrests.|
I believe He also weeps for the many, many men, women and children who are suffering for the cause of Christ all over the world. The following pictures are taken from publications from Voice of the Martyrs, asking for prayer and support for these suffering and wounded believers in the Body of Christ.
|This young girl has made her way to a refugee camp in South Sudan. |
She has been displaced because she follows Jesus.
What can we do to bathe the wounds of the Christ who suffers in the bodies of the Persecuted Church? Do we really understand that when they suffer, we do also? Do we really care? The other day, as I was listening to christian radio, I heard a Christian pastor from a far away place, crying out in agony and protest about the church in America. I only heard a bit of what he said, but I was transfixed by his message and rebuke to America. He said: “The Church in America has gorged itself on pleasure and self-centered materialism. The American church is content in her affluence, oblivious to the desperate needs of the Body of Christ around the world.” He said we are going to be shocked when persecution arrives on our shores, as it is surely coming. I thought, how sad that we would hear this kind of an indictment from a christian brother looking across the sea at the wealth and seeming indifference of the church in America. I believe he spoke a prophetic and correcting word to us to wake up while there is still time. It could be that Jesus weeps more for a fat, overstuffed, lazy and self-centered church, than He does for the suffering church who glorify Him in their suffering. We just may be the most to be pitied...
Please join me in praying for our persecuted and suffering brothers and sisters around the world. Visit their web site (linked below) to read more or to contribute financially to the needs of these poverty stricken, hungry and desperately wounded brothers and sisters in Christ. They are part of our family. We cannot look the other way. It is Christ who is passing by...
|A 64 year old former communist, this man will not stop smuggling bibles to believers in Laos. He says: "Even in prison, I knew that God was with me and I knew what He had done for me on the cross. It is greater than what I have been through in prison." |
He sends this message to Christians in the West:
"Thank you to my brothers and sisters in America, Canada
and other countries for your faithful prayers.
I know that I am still alive today because of your faithful prayer.
I now share my testimony because of your powerful prayer."
All photos and captioned information
Used by Permission The Voice of the Martyrs www.persecution.com
PO Box 443
Bartlesville, OK 74005