As an American I-and all who share the same freedoms-appreciate the privilege of so many things that should be a standard way of life throughout the globe, but I also realize that I often take everything for granted. It’s so easy to feel a sort of entitlement of the gifts of God and the things that patriots have given their lives for, both past and present. The freedom of speech, the right to vote, and all the opportunities that are present in America for employment are just a few of the many privileges we enjoy here. But there is one I am most happy for and that is freedom of religion. It is that very freedom that allows me to express my heart here on this page, and openly pray and read my Bible in public. For thati an most grateful.
Unfortunately, that is not so in a large portion of the world. Iran is one of those places where freedom to choose and express ones own religious views are not acceptable. A man named Saeed Abedini found this out the hard way. He is an Iranian-American pastor from Idaho whom converted from Islam in 2000 and has been loyally and lovingly serving The Lord ever since. Saeed has a heart for his culture and has put his faith to action and spent some years in the early 2000’s establishing house churches in Iran. In fact, he is credited with establishing about 100 house churches in 30 Iranian cities with more than 2,000 members.
Saeed Abedini was placed on house arrest at his family’s home in Iran for a few months when suddenly he was violently taken from their residence and thrown in an Iranian prison where he was held in solitary confinement for weeks at a time. Rations scarcely given and beaten under interrogation with the intent to cause Saeed to recant his faith in the One true God. These beatings have resulted in serious untreated injuries to the point where infections have set in, yet with no medical attention. As a convert to Christianity he is considered to be “unclean” so doctors and physicians have refused to treat him for his illnesses.
Through all this he has boldly and courageously refused to give up the name of Christ. What an inspiration he has become especially to us whom think WE have it bad. We don’t know the half of it, yet this man stands strong on the hope of The Lord. In recent weeks Pastor Saeed Abedini has made a small paper cross to hang in His cell for in remembrance of the birth, life, and death of our savior Jesus of Nazareth, but the guards at the prison threaten him to take it down. He refuses to denounce the name of Christ still amongst all the danger and pain that He suffers.
Am I just trying to tell you a sad story to evoke empathy for a fellow man? Am I trying to encourage those whom have it better than he not to complain and grumble? NO! This is a call for ACTION! There is a fellow man; a fellow American; a fellow child of God in need of prayer and support and we mustn’t just sit back and thank God we’re not him. Pray for Saeed Abedini my brothers. He has a wife and two wonderful children whom all miss him deeply. They need prayer my brothers. Pray for them! Tell others of his situation and the courage he has displayed. Let it be an example to our daily lives and not be so self-centered that we miss opportunities to share God’s love with those around us.