As we celebrate the birth of our nation today and enjoy the privilege of living in the land of the free, I can’t help but think about those who are not so free. Those around the world living each day in nations where their governments restrict — or allow the restriction of — their freedoms. Among them are persecuted Christians.
It’s almost beyond what our minds can grasp. Since here in America we’ve always known the freedom to worship as we please, we can’t imagine what it must be like for fellow believers and followers of Christ who in some nations risk their very lives by any public show of faith in Him. Many die — some at the hands of their own families.
Those who don’t lose their lives are often imprisoned or beaten. Many are rejected by their communities as well as their families. Their livelihoods are threatened as no one will do business with them. Most cannot meet openly as a church or freely have a Bible in their possession. You can learn more about the plight of persecuted Christians through The Voice of the Martyrs, a non-profit inter-denominational Christian organization involved in assisting our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.
We can also learn more by staying in touch with missionaries in nations where religious freedom is restricted. Our church body partners with a missionary couple who minister to other missionaries throughout North Africa and the Middle East. It suddenly puts a face on the problem when we hear first-hand some of the atrocities our brothers and sisters endure.
It seems fitting that as we rejoice in our own freedom of religion, we take time to remember and pray for those who long for such freedom. God’s Word tells us about persecuted people of faith in Bible times and says, “the world was not worthy of them…” (Hebrews 11:38). I believe the same could be said today.
Join me today, won’t you? Let’s remember… and pray!
“Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Hebrews 13:3
Cheryl Barker is a writer whose work appears in magazines, compilation books, Blue Mountain Arts greeting cards, and other publications. She blogs regularly and is also at work on her first book project. Find her inspirational blog at cherylbarker.net and check out her blog designed especially for mothers of the bride at cherylbarker.net/mother-of-the-bride.