I have served overseas in many countries, some poorer than others, some more evangelized than others. But for the most part, I've seen a desperation for the Lord in those countries that I have rarely seen in America.
We are spoiled. We are spoiled rotten. We take our faith for granted. (I'm talking to myself here too.) Our bible sits unopened for days on the shelf. We sleep in on Sunday mornings and skip church. We complain about the pastor and how he doesn't do this-or-that right. We blame our lack of faith on other Christians who have hurt us in the past.
I have seen our brothers and sisters in Christ overseas walk miles by foot in rain and mud to come to church. I have seen our brothers and sisters in Christ share their faith boldly with family knowing they will either be beaten or excommunicated. I have seen our brothers and sisters in Christ praising God with all their hearts, dancing and singing to the music, because He is literally all they have.
Overseas I have watched persecuted Christians see their church burned to the ground. I have heard of friends beaten almost to death by a relative when they were seeking more about Jesus. I have seen them purposefully denied jobs because of their faith in Christ. I have seen Christians who have hardly any earthly possessions, but their faith and obedience far outweigh that of a normal American Christian.
My heart beats with unending devotion for persecuted Christians all around the globe. My prayer is that their blazing fire of passionate love for Jesus would sweep across the oceans and ignite a flame in our hearts in America. May their unwavering servant hearts be an example to ours.
Lord, forgive us for losing sight of our First Love- You. Forgive us for putting our wants and fleshly desires before serving You. May Pastor Saeed Abedini (who is now imprisoned in one of the most brutal prisons in Iran) be a shining light not only to his inmates and guards, but to us, a nation who is slipping away from You.
May we not take our faith for granted.
I know that Pastor Saeed is not.
Photo taken by me in Central Asia 2011