"Faithful unto Death"
May 29, 2014
(Jesus said) "Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life." Revelation 2:10
Meriam Ibrahim is a name you may want to remember, and you may also want to remember her in your prayers.
A resident of the Sudan but the wife of an American citizen, Ibrahim has refused to renounce her faith in the Savior. Because of her faithfulness she has been sentenced to death by hanging. True, the court has shown her some mercy. Judge Khalifa has decreed Ibrahim can give birth and nurse her baby before she is hanged.
Oh, I forgot Ibrahim was also sentenced to receive 100 lashes right now because she had relations with her Christian husband. Under Sharia law that's adultery and isn't allowed. Ibrahim also isn't allowed to marry anybody outside the Muslim faith; nor is she allowed to convert to any other religion.
Now there are two things to remember here:
1. Ibrahim never was a Muslim. Her father, a Muslim man, deserted the family when she was very young. She was raised by her mother, a Christian; that is the only faith she has ever known.
2. To avoid the death penalty and be restored to society, all Ibrahim has to do is renounce Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord. This she has refused to do.
When the apostle John was instructed to write to the church in Smyrna, he was given these words: "Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life."
When Revelation was written, there was no prophet Muhammad, there was no Sharia law, and there was no Islam faith. Still, in every generation the devil raises up those powers that will, through threat, intimidation and violence, try to separate sinners from their beloved Savior. Today, John's words are incredibly applicable for Ibrahim and for many other believers around the world.
Even as we give thanks for religious freedom in our nation, let us remember those for whom following the Savior is incredibly costly. By God's grace and the Holy Spirit's power, may they cling to Christ and make a wonderful witness to the world.
If the Lord wills, may they all be delivered from such unjust persecution. Until then, may they, like Paul, be able to say, "as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:20-21).
THE PRAYER: Lord of the nations, today we ask that You will strengthen and keep secure all who are suffering for their Redeemer, who gave His life so they might have life. If possible, may this cup of suffering pass from them. If not, may Your will be done and their witness touch others with the hope and power that comes from knowing Jesus as Lord. In His Name we pray it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries