July 26, 2013

The Persecuted Church

On Sunday, July 7, our church had the privilege of hosting a prayer service for the persecuted church. A major portion of this service was listening to testimonies of people who are advocates against persecution or who have experienced it. It is hard to capture all the facts and testimonies in one blog post. Thousands of believers are being killed for their faith. The pictures (given both verbally and visually) were hard to accept. Christians are being slaughtered just for following Christ, and believers are fleeing these countries. In one country, a woman paid a ransom for her uncle to be set free. He was given to her in pieces. Yes, I knew that persecution existed; however, I didn't know that it did to this great extent.

I came away with a few questions:

1.Would the church be strengthened in Canada if it were to face persecution? Sometimes the attitudes towards church are discouraging. Other things are given top priority over church. We go to church when we feel like it. However, in these countries where people are killed for attending church and proclaiming their faith, believers are willing to risk their lives to meet with other Christians. That is dedication and commitment!

2.Is persecution God's will? David Waines (one of the speakers) stated that persecution is not God's will. In 2 Timothy 4:22, Paul states that "all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Although I do not want to necessarily take a passive stance on persecution, is it something that needs to happen before the Lord returns again? 

3.Is it easier to just ignore the realities that many Christians face? My answer to this would be "yes". It hurts and disgusts me to know that Christians are treated in the way they are. However, David Waines made the statement that persecution like this could come to Canada as well. We see it already in more subtle ways. Although I would like shield myself from these realities, I think it is important for us to know how to pray for our brothers and sisters in these countries. Moreover, with the possibility of believers in Canada being persecuted to these extremes, it is important for us to prepare ourselves. For myself, I know that I need to grow closer in my relationship with God so that when faced with persecution, I can say, without hesitation, that I follow the one true God. 

Rachel Janz

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