One Sunday morning while Greg and I were setting up our missionary display table at a church in Indiana, Christian noticed a large Voice of the Martyrs Prayer Map posted on the church lobby wall. I saw my 8-year-old son walk over to the map and begin studying it. The VOM prayer map has two categories: Red Restricted Nations and Yellow Hostile Areas, and the bottom of the map describes the type of persecution that takes place in these countries.
"Mom! Mom! Did you know that some of the countries Dad will be traveling to when we live in Asia are red countries?!? Did you know that in those countries Christians can go to prison or be killed because they’re Christians?!? Is Dad going to go to prison for teaching people about the Bible?!?"
As I looked in the eyes of my precious son I saw so much fear. Fear that the Dad he loved so much might not come home one day. I gave Christian a hug and comforted his fearful little heart.
“Oh sweetheart don’t worry! Daddy is an American so even if they find him teaching in countries where he's not allowed to do that then the worst that will probably happen to him is that he’ll be forced to leave the country and won’t be allowed to come back. They won’t put Daddy into jail for a long time or hurt him.”
“Whew…oh good!” Christian said with a relieved smile and then he immediately wandered off to find his sister to play with before Sunday school began.
Today I keep thinking about that conversation I had with Christian because so many mothers in the world can not offer their children the same consolation that I gave to my son. They can’t assure their children that Daddy won’t go to prison or be killed today for following Jesus Christ. Hardship and danger is a daily part of their life because they profess faith in Jesus Christ. Every day some father's don't come home due to their commitment to following Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 13:3 says, "Remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering."
As Americans it’s hard for us to grasp the sacrifices families make in these restricted nations, but it's also important for us to mentally put ourselves in their shoes and remember their pain.
Will you join with me this week in praying for the persecuted church?