FAITHFUL TO THE END
This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.
Patient endurance is an oft-repeated theme throughout the New Testament. But it seems to be one theme we don’t talk about or preach about much. Yet it is a constant challenge for members of the persecuted church.
Since 1975, Bengali pastors in Bangladesh have faced increasing persecution for preaching the gospel. Some are beaten, imprisoned or even killed. As a result, their wives and children often face isolation. They are verbally and physically abused, and they face extraordinary challenges to remain free from bitterness.
Pastor Mir wanted to take the gospel to a place in Bangladesh that had not heard about Jesus. So he brought his wife Anjali and their children to a Muslim community that had never seen a Christian before. The community thought that Christians must look different somehow. Christians seemed so foreign to them. So they came to see what Christians looked like and introduced themselves.
Over the next several years, people began opening their hearts to the message of Jesus. But, not everyone responded so positively. Some in the village pressured the Mirs to leave. Nonetheless, they stood strong in their faith. Then one night, Anjali heard a loud noise. Someone was shot. Her husband had been walking to the market when two men caught him, shot him in the mouth and he fell on the ground. Then they took a dagger and stabbed him in the critical points of his body.
After a long while, Mrs. Mir heard that the man who had been shot was her husband. Though she longed to go to him, she knew her two small children required her care. So she could not leave her home. She was thinking, He’s going to die, and I have two boys. What am I going to do? How am I going to raise my two boys?
When Pastor Mir told onlookers he was dying, some fellow believers defied the threat of his attackers, and took him to a hospital. Miraculously, he survived. After years of extensive medical treatment, he is preaching again, but his injuries continue to plague him. His wife still worries over her children’s safety—and faces the challenge of helping them understand why their father was attacked.
Despite persecution, Pastor and Mrs. Mir are committed to staying in their village for the sake of their new Christian brothers and sisters. Anjali says, “If we leave, then there will be no church and the people who have just put their faith in Jesus, may fall away.”
The real cry of their heart is wanting to be faithful to Jesus to the end.
RESPONSE: Today I will keep Jesus’ commands and practice patient endurance.
PRAYER: Ask God to enable workers in areas of persecution to endure patiently the challenges they face for the sake of Jesus and His church.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.