First part of Oct. 2011 I wrote about Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, a Christian convicted of Apostasy in Iran back in 2009. He has faced multiple court hearings over the years and has been given the “opportunity” to recant his Christian beliefs and return to the Islamic faith. Last week may have been the final hearing with a guilty verdict ordering his execution. It is unclear if he is now sentenced to death despite the outcry from various nations and organizations. I have searched the web and have not come up with a clear answer to this; however it does appear the end is near for this modern day Bonhoeffer.
Thinking of him makes me wonder: how many of us could stand strong in our faith when faced with death? How many of us could face losing not only our lives, but leaving our children and spouse, all for the sake of Christ?
But that is what we are all called to be willing to do…to give all for our Savior who gave His all for us.
Last week I wrote a post on blessing those who curse us. I wrote about how God loves ALL men- when we fully understand that, when we fully devote our lives to Christ, we are able to love others with the heart of God and not with our own limited capacity. God loves those who are persecuting Youcef.
Youcef is being a true ambassador of God’s love and he is willing to die for his faith in God.
Are you? Am I?
I would like to say that I am. But truthfully I am not faced with that type of decision. It’s easy for me to say I would die for Christ and it’s even easier for me to write this post. What is challenging is actually taking action (and this really shouldn't be challenging- yet somehow it is).
But what can we do for Youcef?
As believers we are called to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Youcef needs our prayers…just as much as those persecuting him need our prayers. I encourage us all to make it a point to pray for Youcef and his family daily. I challenge you to pray for those who desire his death as well.
I too will be taking up this challenge and praying this week. I also feel led to fast. Please only do this if you feel led by God and AFTER checking with your physician. There are many types of fasts; please research the various types and then decide which you would like to do and for how long. Due to health reasons I cannot do a “traditional” fast, therefore for the next 7 days I will be fasting from hot tea and sweets. (I have also fasted from media/entertainment in the past.)
Regardless if you chose to join me in fasting, I ask the Christian community to continue to spread the word and to speak out regarding this violent atrocity against Christianity. I ask also that you keep Youcef and his family (he has a wife and two children) in your prayers. I don’t think any of us can imagine all he and his family are suffering. Pray for their strength, safety, peace and guidance. Pray this hero doesn’t have to become the next Christian martyr. Pray also for the salvation of those holding him captive. And above all, pray God’s will is done.
“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity.” Colossians 4:5 NLT
Every opportunity…Youcef is doing just this. His dedication to Christ is having an impact around the globe. He spurs me to live my faith out loud and to make the most of every occasion- be it in the grocery store, the doctor’s office or any other place I find myself.
Questions: How about you, is Youcef encouraging you to be more than you currently are in Christ? If you are not a Christian, how does hearing someone is willing to die for their faith make you feel? Does it inspire you to come to know a love so great you are willing to die?
Here are two articles that tell of this courageous man of God, along with links to my older posts related to topic.