As many of you know, Pastor Saeed Abedini has been held captive in Iran for well over a year now. He was transferred into the worst prison in Iran and has basically been abandoned by our own government. There was an opportunity to negotiate his freedom, but we decided against doing so. Now, he is being tortured, beaten, denied medications, and robbed a knife point by fellow prisoners, among whom are the most violent criminals. All of this because of his only crime, confessing to be a disciple of Christ.
My heart grieves for his pain and suffering, and for the emotional suffrage of his wife and children who are here in the states patiently awaiting his release and return. Their testimony is one of quiet strength and fortitude which could be given only by The Lord as they know Whom they, and the mighty Pastor, serve. They are totally trusting Jesus through all of this. I am reminded then of the servants of The Lord throughout the Bible. So many were imprisoned wrongfully, yet trusted God.
Take Joseph, who was sold by his brothers into slavery for doing nothing more than obeying his father and believing The Lord for the dreams he was given. He suffered greatly, but never complained. He was given time and again the trust of those set over him, up to even Pharoah, as he remained a faithful servant of God.
Daniel was placed into a den of lions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were all put into the fiery furnace, Jeremiah was put into prison, John the Baptist was put in prison and then he lost his head, and so on and so it went in the lives of the prophets.
The apostles were all killed for being disciples of Christ, but not before imprisonment. They all spent time in prisons. John died at Patmos in old age, imprisoned. Paul spent enough time chained up that he was able to write all of the epistles. He, of all of those imprisoned for The Lord, was able to give unto us the majority of the New Testament. Would we have such a written testament to Jesus Christ if he had been allowed to preach on freely, planting church after church? I think not. God would have made a way, but then we wouldn’t have this:
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you… …For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-12,16-18
Paul wrote what every man of God before him knew to be true. The things that they each had to suffer were for both God, and His good Will, and for the good of mankind in example.
With Paul, we have an example in the church for us to follow. He obediently went into bondage for Christ, and the early church went out of their way for him. The church at Philippi sent to him things he needed with each imprisonment in each city. Paul proclaimed that he did not require it for himself, but counted it as fruit of the Spirit for their sakes, acceptable to God.
With Peter, we have another example. The early church prayed when he was imprisoned, and God set him free. So, though we cannot go to Saeed with the things he may need for his own comfort and well being physically, we can pray. We can use the greatest asset given to us by Almighty God and intercede on Saeed’s behalf. And since we cannot send gift baskets to him, by God, we can band together as brethren and speak out against what is happening to him. He suffers for Christ. We suffer with him. Get on your knees, brethren. Get on your face, Christian. Come before the Father, soldier in Christ. Intercede. Pray for Saeed. Pray fervently.