Today my heart is heavy. It’s been heavy the last few days as news of the Taliban takeover has reached me. As I read news of the Christians, my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, who are fleeing or hiding from the threat of death that hangs over them. The situation makes my heart and my spirit heavy. I have been praying for them since I first heard of the situation. I’ve taken moments to sit in silence to hear what God is prompting me to do even a world away. I know He is hearing the prayers of His people from all over the world. I know He is grieving over the injustice. I know purpose will be found even in this suffering and that He will sustain His people.
Yesterday, I saw a picture of Afghanistan Christians walking into the desert. I first thought of the Israelites walking in the desert after Egypt, but that comparison didn’t feel correct to me. Then I thought of Hagar, the servant of Sarah, who wandered the desert. Twice she went into the desert and both times, God met her there. The second time, she was prepared to die and her only thought was that she did not wish to watch her son die as well.
“Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the [empty] bottle with water and caused the youth to drink.” (Gen. 21:19 amp)
At the point of defeat, God opened her eyes to see a well of water. I know that my brothers and sisters in Christ have seen the well of Living Water and have drank from it. Even now in the time of terror, I know that the Spirit of Living Water is sustaining them.
I think of the Early Church who endured similar persecution as those in Afghanistan today. They were hunted down, arrested, and sent to their death in an arena for entertainment. They were crucified as our Lord was. They were fed to lions. Yet even that threat could not keep the Church silent and the Body continually grew.
My prayer is that God sustains them as He did in the time of Rome. That He blesses those who are persecuted. May those who are murdered be like Stephen and see the face of Jesus as He rises from His seat in preparation to welcome them into their eternal home. I pray that even as they endure unknown and inexpressible terror, the Word of God will not return void and their faith will continue to reach those around them. I ask God to sustain them, be their strength. May my brothers and sisters continue to sing praises to our God.
I leave you with Psalm 11.
I have taken refuge in the Lord.
How can you say to me,
“Escape into the mountains like a bird!
For look, the wicked string bows;
they put their arrows on bowstrings
to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.
When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?
The Lord is in His holy temple;
the Lord–His throne is in heaven.
His eyes watch; his gaze examines everyone.
The Lord examines the righteous, but He hates the wicked
and those who love violence.
Let Him rain burning coals and sulfur on the wicked;
let a scorching wind be the portion in their cup.
For the Lord is righteous; He loves righteous deeds.
The upright will see His face.
The threat our brothers and sisters face is horrifying beyond words, but even in the fight we must remember that we wrestle not with flesh and blood. The wicked one is the enemy of God, whom He has already defeated at the Cross. While it is men who wield the guns and threats, it is Satan who we truly war against, who brings this war against the chosen ones of God.
Remember this as we continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ. While we pray for them to be strengthened, for their safety and well being, let us also pray for the hearts of their persecutors. Pray against the hardness of their hearts, pray that the lies of the enemy will be silenced within them, that the chains that are on the persecutors are also shattered by the hand of God, that the Truth will enter their hearts and they, too, will be earnestly restored to God.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am a world away, but I am with you in Spirit. I pray the grace of God be upon you, that He be a shield about you, that He sustain you. I do not know your name or your face, but I know your spirit. I pray for you daily, constantly. I weep for you, but I know that God our Father is with you. I pray that His peace would rest upon you even in the face of the enemy. I pray that your stories would change lives and bring eternal glory to God. Remember Peter, Paul, and the others. Remember that God is ever with you, that He has sent the Comforter to be with you even now. God has not deserted you. He remains with you. My heart cries for you, my spirit cries out for you. I will continue to add my prayer to yours. I leave you with the greatest reminder I know:
I Am is with you.
Yes and AMEN!