Talk about being persecuted because of your faith...
Pray for Abdul Rahman. He converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago. In Afghanistan, this is considered a rejection of Muslim faith and is punishable by death. A little extreme in my opinion, but this is the country that was once ruled by the Taliban. To make matters worse for Rahman, his own family turned him in to the police. That's gotta hurt...
Yet, despite the painful events transpiring in Rahman's life, there is hope and love. Matthew 5:10-12 says, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Jesus said that and is part of the Beatitudes.
While Rahman might be in jail and staring down at death, I pray God blesses him with strength to endure this persecution. And, I pray that he continues to keep his faith in Jesus Christ. The reward of heaven is a far better treasure than anything this earth offers and well worth the insignificant and temporary pain and suffering we endure while on it.
According to the article, the prosecutor offered to drop all charges if Rahman converted back to Islam. In other words, renounce your faith or die. I applaud Rahman for sticking to his faith in Christ and refusing the prosecutor's offer. That's true faith, my friends.
We get tangled up in life so easily. Last night, I was in bed for 10:30, at least 30 minutes before my normal bedtime. I was thinking I needed to pray. But, I got lazy about it. I started talking to God about things and was asleep before long. I didn't make the time I should have taken. Heck, with thirty minutes out of bed and on my knees, I still would have been asleep earlier than usual.
Now, there's this guy facing the death penalty because of his faith, because of his devotion to Jesus. And I can't find 30 minutes to build on my own relationship with JC? Rahman could die for his beliefs and the best I had to offer is lazy prayer? How's that for perspective?
While I highly doubt I'll be in a similar situation as Mr. Rahman (thanks to a thing called Freedom), I would like to think that I would react similarly. I mean, in daily, everyday living, I struggle to pursue God. Yes, that's true. But, when it comes to putting my faith in Him, if my choices were a bullet in the skull or renounce my faith. Lord, I think the choice is easy. Then again, I'm not in, and doubt I'd ever be in, that situation - Praise be to God (and give me protection and strength, Lord, if I am).
It seems the daily, everyday living test of Faith is carving out time for God. Going to bed later or getting up earlier. Fasting during your lunch hour. Putting the Playstation controller down. Turning off American Idol. Logging off Myspace and the internet. Truly, there are countless ways to find time to spend with God. As Matthew 5:33 says, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." The daily, everyday living test is sacrificing our time to build our Faith. Carve out the time and the kingdom can be yours.