Martyrdom Short Story

Tribute To The Modern-Day Martyrs

[Greater Suffering]

Imagine this. Government officers barge into your house at night. They don’t only drag you out, but they also grab your parents and the kids too.

You’re all thrust into concentration camps. Interrogated. Tortured. Locked away forever.

Your crime?

You believe in Jesus.

Personally, the common kind of suffering I’ve experienced is stress from the daily grind. My country is blessed with peace. When I think of nations devoid of cultural and religious freedom, my personal issues shrink till they appear like a slice of heaven compared to others’ greater suffering.

 

[Persecution: Where and Why it Happens]

November was the International Month of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. The Persecuted Church includes believers who are imprisoned, killed, and harassed for their Christian faith.

For countries in the 10/40 window , persecution runs rampant. This area encompasses North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. On the map, you’d find it between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude.

Persecution happens because of deep-seated discrimination, stemming from centuries of cultural, religious, and political roots.

But this kind of darkness is nothing new in a spiritual sense. It’s been a millennia-old phenomenon from Jesus’ time, to Emperor Nero’s campaigns, and to the present rulers of this age.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. – John 15:18 (NIV)

And yet, it’s in the darkness of persecution that Christians burn brighter, like stars shining against the night. In the face of death, they hold on to a greater hope—and are victorious  .

 Here’s a glimpse of what life is like for those who face persecution:

This blog post is different. Instead of sharing another article or devotional, I’d like to share a tribute post to brothers and sisters in the faith whose lives are of great testimony.

CONTENT WARNING: Graphic images on torture and imprisonment are described

Dear Persecuted Christian,

The world calls you many things: Bigots. Infidels. Defectors. Scum of the earth.

And yet you are named, graced with precious words: Witness. Light. His child. His heir.

Chains tighten around your wrist like snakes, cold fangs pressed against a weary pulse.

Hands open in surrender. A silent song fills your lungs. You breathe. Still free.

You’re thrust into container vans to bake in the desert heat. Or abandoned to the frostbite of winter cells.

But He remains. He holds you close—through fire, heat, cold, and storm.

How many scars have you stopped counting?

How many of His wounds overlap with yours?

Bruises color your arms in maps. Green. Black. Blue. Purple.  Oceans burst between the islands of your skin.

Your garments are almost ready. It’ll be purer than the finest gold, as white as glory.

Wind cracks a thousand times over. The whip crashes upon flesh. An artwork of stripes drips in bloodred.

Suddenly, diamonds spiral around your new clothes. A body is perfected in Heaven’s halls.

They tell you to renounce it all—let the binding words heal your bloodied lips.

But is this not the cost? Is He not the prize?

So the blade comes down. The bullets fly, separating time from the eternal.

An uproar in Heaven drowns the sound of breaking.

Rulers of the earth stand on pedestals, their insults the only eulogy.

Then the trumpet sings. Hear the applause. Hear the King’s decree, “Well done, My faithful one.”

The world counts you as loss.

The Kingdom crowns you as its victor.

Worthless.

Faithful.

You are the least.

You are the first.

 

His life is the war cry you proclaim with every drip of blood, with every pinprick of pain.

You stand upon the triumph He claimed on the cross.

Death has no hold on you.

Life is your victory.

Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. – Luke 6:22 (NIV)

 

[What We Can Do Today]

Dear Traveler, I hope the story of the Persecuted Church changes our perspective on circumstances.  We’re blessed to live in free countries. Meanwhile, greater stories and purposes unravel around us. As we live in free nations, we have the opportunity to stand for them.

In these times, we cannot fall into passivity. As we live in freedom, let’s exercise our faith without fear.

“Persecution is an enemy the Church has met and mastered many times. Indifference could prove to be a far more dangerous foe.” – Brother Andrew

[Pass It On]

If you want to know more about this movement, here are some resources on the persecuted church.

What is Christian Persecution? 

Why does Persecution Happen?

DOWNLOAD Materials on the International Month of Prayer

 

Holding on to victory,

Image Credits:

Worldwide Maps

Denny Müller

Denis Oliveira

Acknowledgements:

Sara Willoughby

Raizel Leuterio 

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1 Comment

  1. S. G. Willoughby says:

    This is such an important message and a well-written post! Thank you so much for writing about and sharing this!

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