March 13, 2013

This week I heard Nina Shea interviewed on the radio about a book that she has helped author entitled Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians that has been published by Thomas Nelson. I was so taken with her radio interview that I acquired a copy of her book and began reading. As you would expect, it’s very sobering.

The very first chapter begins with an account of a forty-something year old woman who was executed in North Korea. Her crime? She kept a Bible in her home. “Guards tied her head, her chest, and her legs to a post, and shot her dead. It happened in September 2005.” (p.1, Kindle edition)

Where were you in September of 2005? Back in those days Houston Lake Presbyterian Church met in a doctor’s waiting room office on Sunday mornings. Signs were placed on Watson Boulevard boldly proclaiming our existence and welcoming all who would come. We’ve traded in banners for a brick sign on Houston Lake Road and enjoy our own comfortable facility. The freedoms we have here are unmet longings in many other places.

The authors write: “Unfortunately, most of the world’s Christians don’t share these circumstances. Their experiences are not just dissimilar to ours; they are unimaginably different. Clearly we needn’t feel guilty for our religious freedoms, which are God-given. But sometimes we have to be reminded about what life is like for Christians in other countries, whose everyday lives bear so little resemblance to ours.” (p. 2, Kindle edition)

A few thoughts in light of these observations:

  • We need to be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy here in this country. I believe Francis Schaeffer was correct to say that we live in a post-Christian culture but nonetheless we still gather for worship and to date can speak freely of Christ without serious consequences.
  • Are we praying for brothers and sisters who are suffering right now under horrific conditions in such places as North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, and other countries? Organizations such as Voice of the Martyrs ( can help us stay informed. Are we grounded and prepared if persecution should come our way? Is our faith such that will stand such tests? God gives grace for actual trials, not hypothetical ones, I realize. Let us then pray that God would prepare us for what He’s preparing for us – whatever that might be.