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Children Facing Persecution

Children Facing Persecution What is it like for Christian children to face persecution? If it is difficult for adults living in the West to imagine ourselves facing intense persecution, how much more children? But children do face persecution because of the name of Christ and it is important that we not only recognize that children are persecuted, but also that we prepare our children to stand for Christ. Children are not often addressed in the Bible and they are not often enough thought about by us adults. I am as guilty as any regarding this issue. It is a reflection of the fact that as sinful human beings, we have a hard time valuing things that we perceive to be weak or powerless. Subconsciously, we know that weak and powerless things can’t do anything for us or give anything to us. This is, in fact, one of the issues that the Gospel addresses. At one point in Luke’s gospel, people were bringing their children to Jesus to receive a blessing from Him when the disciples stopped them. But Jesus rebuked the disciples and said, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16 NASB. The Gospel of the Kingdom came specifically and especially for the weak and powerless. With this, the apostle Paul agrees when he says, “God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” 1 Corinthians 1:27 NASB. Children today are often undervalued, but in the ancient world, this was even more severe. We can thank Jesus that His gospel has brought much change in this regard. In fact, Jesus addressed His own disciples in this affectionate way, though unappealing to the ego: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32 NASB.

I have read about a boy who would have his hands beaten every day in school because he was a Christian living in a Muslim community. When Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, the founders of the Voice of the Martyrs, were both locked in Communist prisons for their loyalty to Christ, their only son lived as an orphan on the streets of Romania and was kicked out of school for refusing to wear the Communist scarf, “the colors of those who imprisoned my father”. In another instance, a young Muslim girl became a Christian and, as result, was beaten mercilessly by her father. One day, when her father was about to strike her with another blow, He saw Jesus with His arms around his daughter, waving at him to stop the beatings. This Muslim man became a follower of Jesus because of his child’s faithful witness! We should not despise those who are weak and powerless. They are the people, whether eight years old or eighty, whom God is most willing to use. How might we better prepare our children to stand for Christ? How might we adjust our expectation for what God will do to advance His Kingdom through our Children? How might we become more like children? Persecution is a reminder that we are weak, but God is strong! May we never shrink back from a moment when God is able to glorify Himself through our weakness.

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