Over the last year or so, reports of a Christian exodus across parts of the Middle East have been common as IS attempts to brutally and systematically eradicate Christianity, which they are calling “War of the cross”. However, history shows that the gospel of Jesus Christ can never be defeated and paradoxically, the more faith in Jesus Christ is attacked, the more it grows!
It is, therefore, encouraging to hear the views of Rev Sami Dagher who has displayed amazing courage to set up many churches across the Middle East despite the grave dangers. When Sami was recently in the UK with Samaritan’s Purse, he pointed out “We also have another title – we are the light of the world. Syria is a dark place, Iraq is a dark place, Lebanon is a dark place, Kurdistan is a dark place and the light is leaving it – who is going to shine there?…According to God, we have to shine in the dark place, and if it’s dark, one candle will make a difference.”
What many believers in the Middle East are experiencing is exactly what Jesus Christ taught would happen. The fact that many Muslims would choose to follow Christ in such an environment and often pay with their lives provide huge proof of the reality of the gospel of Jesus – an individual who pays such a high price has to have been transformed by something immensely powerful! We can take great heart from this and be reassured that we believe in a Saviour who is so real and transforming. The only way to explain why someone who has been born and in the strict world of Islam and then gives their life to Christ in an environment like this where the cost is so extraordinarily high is that there is undeniable truth in what they believe. We have previously blogged on how young men were mouthing prayers for strength and forgiveness to their Lord Jesus as they went to their deaths – how is this possible when all they had to do was deny Jesus Christ to be spared execution – they simply had to have been touched by something very real! This has to be one of the greatest proofs that Jesus Christ really is the risen King!
Our challenge is to continually lift up our brothers and sisters in Christ in prayer and also to not allow life’s relatively minor struggles cause us to doubt or become disheartened – times are changing in the Western world and we may need to display the same unshakable faith at great cost sooner than we think…
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (1 Peter 5:6-10)