Jesus Visits Death Row

Fridays’ Kingdom POWER posts consider lessons we can learn from leaders facing some level of persecution, and resources we can access, to help us all lead more impactfully for Christ in an increasingly challenging marketplace.

It didn’t occur to me until today that one of the richest sources of empowerment in the face of persecution is Christians around the world who have actually endured persecution. Even to death.

They have words of wisdom, I reasoned… tested by fire. And whatever has empowered them — in the face of physical and emotional trauma, imprisonment, etc. — will surely help us. After all, our persecution falls far short of theirs… at least, for now.

I visited Voice of The Martyrs (VOM). Why was I not surprised to discover the same has occurred to them? “Many of our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world have gained a deeper trust in Christ through repeated, sometimes daily persecution. Rather than looking at our future with anxiety and fear, we can learn from them how better to rest in the promises of our sovereign God.”

Here’s one powerful testimony on VOM’s Facebook page: “‘Hussein,’ an Iranian Christian who converted from Islam, committed his life to ministry in Iran’s home churches soon after God saved him from a life of drugs and crime. His ministry had been going well, until one night when the secret police raided an apartment where he was leading a Christian meeting. Everyone was videotaped, the apartment was searched and Hussein and three other leaders were arrested. After separating the leaders, the police blindfolded Hussein and drove him to an unknown location, where he was led to a solitary cell. They kept a bright floodlight on 24 hours a day, making sleep difficult.

“Hussein’s thoughts were a jumble of confusion and fear… Then Hussein began to pray, and God’s presence filled his cell. ‘This was the greatest experience of my life, with Jesus beside me even telling me how to pray and what to say… I was in the presence of Jesus, and I was praying more boldly and confidently that Jesus had brought me there for a purpose.

“To hear God, like you hear water or anything else. I heard God. I felt like Jesus put everything aside, the whole world aside, to come to me and whisper in my ear. Jesus said to me, ‘There is no need for you to say anything because I am going to tell you what to say. Why are you afraid?’

“After 10 days in solitary… Hussein was charged with apostasy and assigned to death row… But even on death row God was stronger than Hussein’s fear… [He] was accepted into the gang’s inner circle… [given] a place of status… received necessary paperwork for transferring to a ‘safer’ part of the prison. However, Hussein chose to stay on death row. His fear had been overcome by God’s provision. Death row – if that’s where God wanted him – was the safest place for him to be.”

What lesson(s) about Kingdom POWER has Hussein taught you today?

Please post your comments below.

Diana Furr, a.k.a. Abba’s Girl

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