If you read my blog you know about my super lovely day a few weeks ago. This is an exert from that day’s events:
Driving along in this broken-hearted state this morning I ran smack into downtown, stand-still, Jacksonville traffic. There was a policeman amidst all the traffic. I rolled down my window. My own simple, small world persecution now began as this officer spoke to me as if I was 2 years old. After repeatedly answering the same question he asked over and over I finally told him he was being awfully rude. I didn’t know I was supposed to detour. I didn’t know there was a wreck. I didn’t believe he had the right to talk to me the way he was talking to me, however, he still chose to belittle me.
And in that moment my world collided with that pastors world. My heart turned towards his pain and persecution.
I was stunned and shocked that this police officer was berating me in front of my children as I attempted to travel our normal route downtown to school. Over and over again he “slapped me in the face” with his tongue. My fresh tender heart began to harden. Had I not been blinded with indignation I would have looked at his name tag. I would have called to report him.
My indignation slowly twisted inward. I was reminded of my fellow brother-in-Christ who lies in solitary confinement, beaten, dying. Am I above persecution? Is my life anything like his? Absolutely not. But, did today sting? Yes. Badly.
After sharing the pastor’s story I’d heard on the radio and my day with my best friend she called later for the pastor’s name and location. I had no idea, after hearing the story, where he was imprisoned until one night this week. I mentioned looking up the radio station and finding his name later that day……but life took over, until….
I had the most incredible phone call with a fellow LearningRx parent in Boise, Idaho. We were sharing stories about homeschooling and our faith, as well as our journey with LearningRx when she mentioned my recent blog post. “Oh, did you know Pastor Saeed is from Boise, Idaho?” she asked.
“The pastor you spoke about in your blog. He is from Boise.”
Shocked that the pieces of my horrible day were coming full circle right before my eyes I intelligently commented, “No way!”
How life went from driving my kids to school on a foggy Monday morning to my heart breaking over Pastor Saeed in part because of my local Christian radio station, to sharing the story with my best friend, to speaking with Lareina in Boise, Idaho about a fellow brother imprisoned for cause of Christ, to knowing his name! There isn’t a word to describe how incredibly shocked and blessed I felt!
After finishing my phone call with Lareina I immediately called my BFF (teenager language – my son would be proud!) at 10:30pm hoping I wasn’t waking her to tell her the story…….
Saeed has been imprisoned while in Iran and accused of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was working in an orphanage when arrested.
He is in a prison FOX NEWS calls Hell on Earth. Fox News also reports: It has been almost a month since Iranian authorities promised Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen imprisoned in Iran for his Christian faith, that he would receive medical treatment. He has undergone months of beatings and abuse at the hands of his brutal Iranian captors, which has led to dangerous internal bleeding.
For the cause of Christ, for not denying his faith, for staying true to the One he calls Lord!
When I heard his story on the radio he was just placed in solitary confinement again with internal bleeding and failing kidneys. My heart ached to think he may die in that tiny dark place I can only see in my imagination. And now, each time I think of him, I pray that God would be tangible to him in that horrible place. I pray as he reaches out his hand or curls into a pain-filled ball that he feels Jesus holding him, for HE walked the same path all for us. For me. Just so that I might have the chance to know Him. Just as I believe in a God who knows all I also believe He gives us all a choice. I didn’t know I would call him Lord. I didn’t know I would desire His will for my life over my own.
Knowing I have an all-knowing, all-powerful God directing my steps gives me comfort to face another day on this earth that has prisons like Evin in Iran. When my heart feels heavy with the weight of this world I can turn my face upwards towards a Father who smiles at my neediness, my “lack of”. Knowing He loves the part of me that is like Him and the part that wants to run away. Knowing He knows I can’t walk a single step without Him brings me peace.
And for His all-knowing, all-encompassing love, I am eternally and tearfully grateful!