“Within the shadow of Thy throne, still may we dwell secure. Sufficient is Thine arm alone, and our defence is sure.”
~ Isaac Watts
I was stunned when I received the news that someone I knew had been killed. Even in this work, where I am inundated with reports of persecution and martyrdoms from around the world on a daily basis, the news hit hard. This was a man I had met, shook hands with, talked with, and prayed with. At the end of our meeting we said “goodbye” and went our separate ways – I to the relative safety of Canada and he to a country known for its anti-Christian persecution.
As I pondered the implications of this death, I thought of another friend who was imprisoned for his missionary activities along the China/Myanmar border. John Cao was arrested on March 5th, 2017 and charged with organizing illegal crossings of national borders. For this, he was sentenced to seven years in a Chinese prison. Speculation on John’s arrest and sentencing seemed to point to the ruling Communist Party’s attempt to control the house church movement.
A strange emotion strikes me when I think of these two friends. It’s a sadness intermingled with a prevailing peace. The sadness is obvious, as I cope with the certainty that a brother was murdered because of his Christian activity and witness, while another sits in a miserable jail cell. And yet, what rises up within me is not anger or bitterness toward the perpetrators of these atrocities but rather a reassuring peace that pervades each falling tear with the comfort that comes from knowing Christ. It is His comfort that floods my heart when the somber truth reveals that the battle is real.
In prayer, we remember and interceded for persecuted Christians engaged in this battle. The enemy would like to think that with each death, each imprisonment, each beating and harassment, he and his cohorts are winning this war. However, the simple testimony that rises from each gravestone, each prison cell, every burned down church, and every persecuted Christian, is that Christ is sufficient. He is the only comfort our persecuted brothers and sisters seek; and in seeking, they experience His presence in the darkest of places.
Thank you for joining us in this battle to provide tools for persecuted Christians so they can minister in the midst of such hostility and opposition. Our sincere prayer is that Christ would be exalted through His people, whether by life or by death (Philippians 1:20), in every nation of this world.