Read: Matthew 5:10-12
Blessed are you when others . . . persecute you . . . on my account. (v. 11)
“Blessing” and “persecution” don’t sound like they belong in the same sentence. But Jesus put them there.
I have an Iranian acquaintance who as a young university student was disturbed by the injustice and inequality of the Shah’s regime. He joined the Communist party to work for revolution. He was arrested, imprisoned, and tortured by the Shah’s secret police. But when Islamic revolution came to Iran, it turned out to be very different from the Communists’ dream. The new Iran was even more brutal, repressive, and unjust than it had been under the Shah.
Dejected, despairing of the future, wondering if he even wanted to go on living, my friend was sitting on a park bench one day when he noticed a windblown piece of paper at his feet. Glancing down, he saw that it had English words printed on it. It was a page from a Bible. He picked it up and his eyes fell on these words: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” My friend accepted the invitation then and there, and became a follower of Jesus.
Eventually he would go to prison again, this time for the gospel. He told me he found it more enjoyable to be jailed as a Christian than as a Communist. Actually, I don’t think “enjoyable” was the word he used; it was something like “more rewarding.” We do have Jesus’ word on that. —David Bast (November 14, 2016)
As you pray, ask God to open the ears of people living in closed countries to hear his voice.