Faithful Unto Death

For anyone who has been monitoring the news, the events of Afghanistan have been horrifying to watch. We see mad rushes at the airport of those trying to leave. The people are so desperate to leave the terrors of the Taliban that they would rather hang on to flying jets than stay in Afghanistan and face certain death. Mothers are handing over their babies to the American military, in hopes that they might find a better life in America. To be sure, many are getting out. But many will be left behind. It is all heart-breaking.

However, there is a group of people that few in the media are talking about: the Christians in Afghanistan. They have no ties with the West. They didn’t work as translators. They weren’t trained by the U. S. military. They have no hope of leaving. But now, with the Muslim Taliban taking over the country, their lives are at great risk. The Muslim Taliban consider Christians to be infidels and worthy of death. I anticipate that many of these Christians will be killed over the next few weeks/months/years.

It is sad. It is difficult. It is heart-wrenching. Their deaths will come, not because they committed a crime, but because they embraced a Savior. The words of Jesus to the church in Smyrna are applicable. “For ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

These Christians are like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who refused to bow to the idol that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Their punishment was to be cast into a burning fiery furnace (Daniel 3:6). When called to give account before the king, they said, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18). God spared Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were able to walk through the fire, without as much as a single hair on their head being singed (Daniel 3:27).

These Christians are like the disciples of Christ in the first century. Saul of Tarsus was so enraged at those who followed Jesus that he went house to house, dragging of the men and women off to prison (Acts 8:3), hoping that they would be sentenced to death (Acts 9:1). Saul persecuted Christians in Jerusalem and other cities. But God spared the disciples in Damascus. When Saul was traveling to Damascus to arrest the followers of Christ in that city, he saw a vision of Jesus, which forever changed his life. Rather than persecuting the Christians, he joined them in Damascus.

The Lord is able to save the Christians in Afghanistan. He can hide them in plain sight. He can grant favor in the eyes of the Taliban. He can bring about the conversion of some of the Taliban soldiers to Jesus. But if not, we must pray that they would be “faithful unto death.”

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