“If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18
What does it take to obey God . . . when you know it will lead to suffering?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had what it takes to obey God.
In the book of Daniel, we learn what these young men did when faced with the choice to either bow to an idol and live . . . or serve God, suffer the king’s wrath and be thrown into a fiery furnace.
They resolved to follow God. They knew, deep to their core, that God is more powerful than the king and the furnace. Nevertheless, if God did not deliver them, even though He can, they would still serve Him.
But if not . . . we will not serve your gods.
Many Christians face this same choice today.
Bow to the ruler, obey the dominant religion . . . or else suffer.
“Aamit” was captured and held inside a mosque for weeks. He was isolated, beaten, and berated to force him to return to Islam.
The young man had become a Christian not long before. In this Muslim country, a person who leaves Islam is an “apostate” and Muslim leaders say apostates should be killed.
“Aamit” miraculously escaped. He came to our shelter, where our team quickly moved him to another safe house in a far-away region.
He cannot return to his family or village, who have rejected him. Even now, he could be found out and tormented for being an “apostate”.
In this communal society, to be cut off from your family is crushing.
But “Aamit” knows too much. He knows that Jesus is Lord, and he cannot bow to a different god.
Sometimes I ask Christians who are relentlessly persecuted, “Why do you still follow God?” The memories of pain may flash across their minds. Then they are overcome by the hope within them.
“Because Jesus is the Messiah, our Savior,” they say. “He alone gives eternal life.”
Their suffering can be grueling, and some yield. The pain is too hard. The abuse, captivity, and torture can be overwhelming. Even Peter, under pressure, denied Christ.
They cannot do it on their own. They need strength, courage, hope, and faith. As Jesus said, with faith even as small as a mustard seed, “nothing will be impossible for you.”
With faith, Christians can respond to persecution in ways that reveal our living God.
A Coptic Christian woman left a television host stunned when she forgave the terrorist who killed her husband. On Palm Sunday in 2017, a suicide bomber killed 17 and wounded 48 people at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Egypt. A few days later, Samira Faheem was interviewed.
“I’m not angry at the one who did this. I’m telling him, ‘May God forgive you, and we also forgive you. Believe me, we forgive you,‘” she said.
The TV host was speechless.
Finally, he said, “The Copts of Egypt are made of steel. If it were my father, I could never say this. These people have so much forgiveness. But this is their faith and religious conviction. These people are made from a different substance.”
Christians in Nigeria need an endless supply of forgiveness. Nearly every week, more Christians are slaughtered, homes destroyed, and girls kidnapped to be given as a reward to jihadist fighters. Christians in China and North Korea need courage to withstand communist overlords. Christians in Pakistan need hope in a culture steeped in oppression. Christians in Bangladesh and India need joy as they persevere.
With support from friends like you, we are providing life-saving food, shelter, and aid for persecuted believers. Together we supply Bibles for spiritual strength, training and tools to earn a living, and security for churches.
And above all, we pray!
Will you pray for Christians to have what they need – and what it takes — to overcome persecution? Will you pray for faith, courage, and even love for their enemies?
And will you especially pray for young Christians – modern-day Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – to be bold and courageous?
The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is coming up. Held on the first or second Sunday in November, this is an opportunity to pray for Christians who are paying a huge price to follow Jesus. It can awaken people to the alarming abuse, violence, captivity, isolation, torture, and death that many Christians face today.
You can get free resources for your church for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church at https://christianfreedom.org/resources/idop/
And download our newest item . . . a Prayer Prompter.
This craft focuses on key traits that Christians need, matched with Bible verses.
Use this Prayer Prompter to guide your prayers when you may not know what to pray.
Share it with kids and adults. Make copies for Sunday school classes and Bible studies. As they make and use it, tell them about Christians like “Aamit” and Samira.
Use it to disciple children on what is needed to withstand persecution and be followers of Christ. This is a gentle way to introduce children to pray for persecuted Christians and teach them God’s word.
This is a dangerous time for many Christians. Your prayers and gifts are critical to help provide life-giving aid for Christians who face modern-day fiery furnaces.
Will you pray and help persecuted believers . . . so they have what it takes to follow Jesus despite the cost?
God bless you,
Wendy Wright President
P.S. Thank you for standing with persecuted Christians! Will you help Christians to have what it takes – and what they need – to obey God despite the cost?