I’ve written about the persecuted church before. I am going to do so now and will very likely share again in the future. This morning I got my newsletter, it comes every Saturday, there were several accounts of persecution, a whole prayer section on South-East Asia, updates on kidnapped Nigerian girls and information about a group in Cuba that caught my eye.
Ladies in White sounds like a book but if you check them out this group put themselves at risk by protesting in Cuba against the wrongful jailing of dissidents. These wives and female relatives began their peaceful demonstration in 2003 after the arrest and conviction of 75 individuals by the Cuban government during the Black Spring. The ladies protest by wearing white as they attend mass on a Sunday and then walking in silence through the streets. They’ve been arrested, beaten and generally harassed. they’ve been awarded the Sakharov Prize for the Freedom of Thought and nominated for a Nobel peace prize. The original dissidents have all been released but the protests continue because there are still political prisoners and there is religious oppression and persecution of Christians in Cuba. This pastor, whose church was demolished in February, is about to be charged with illegal possession of chairs…
Persecution has never stopped the spread of Christianity. I am studying Philippians in my daily devotional and today’s verses were:
12 I have good news, brothers and sisters; and I want to share it. Believe it or not, my imprisonment has actually helped spread the good news to new places and populations.
13 Word has spread through the ranks of the imperial guard and to everyone else around me that I am in prison because of my faith in the Anointed One.
14 My imprisonment has instilled courage in most of our brothers and sisters, so they are trusting God more and have been even more daring as they speak the good news without fear.
The comment in the study said that Christians are not exempt from trouble but equipped for it. I forget that. My prayers are always for God to deliver me from suffering, from problems and that’s ok but when I am not delivered and have to go through I don’t always recognise the power that upheld me and maintained me. That strength that is great in my weakness. Too often I pat myself on the back and think I managed alone.
I believe persecution is only going get worse and extend across the whole world. The day will come when I might be harassed going to church, thrown in prison, beaten or tortured. On that day, I want to be sure I know where my strength comes from and it won’t be me. I am praying for my sisters and brothers in situations that appal me. I pray for the same courage and strength they have even as I pray for God to protect and defend them. I’d rather they were delivered and escaped torture but I am glad God is right there with them and that He will be with me whether it’s a broken down car, a mocking friend or a prison cell.