There has been a lot of Facebook traffic about the situation with Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is in prison in Iran for violating their laws against Christians proselytizing.  Recently it is rumored that he is being transferred to a “tougher” prison than where he is currently.  Everyone is asking people to pray for his release.  Here is my question:  What if God does not want Saeed released? 

What if instead, God’s plan is to use this man (and others like him) to reach into the “toughest prison in Iran” and transform the people there?  What if rather than praying for God to release him, we start asking God what He wants out of this situation.  What if we were to start praying that God would be a very present help for Saeed in his time of trouble?  To give him supernatural strength and wisdom to say and to do mighty things while he is there.  What if God wants to do so much more than what we are being asked to pray for?  Now to be sure, I do pray that God would release him, but I also pray for much more.  I am not claiming to have in inside track here; I am just suggesting that there may be something bigger going on.

I think it is a Western idea that we Christians should not suffer for our faith.  I will check in with a couple of my Middle Eastern friends and let you know if it’s just us, or if we are all wrong.  Yes I said wrong.  If you believe you can stand for Jesus Christ and escape persecution – you are wrong.  I would direct you to read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs for a fresh perspective.  More importantly than that, read your Bible (what a concept eh?).  From a purely superficial perspective – Christians lose.  We are hunted down and killed, everyone turns against us.  People are actually going to be convinced that they will be doing God’s work in killing us.  Just when it seems the last light of the Kingdom of God has been extinguished from the planet, a trumpet will sound, and just like lightning flashes from east to west everyone alive will see the real RETURN OF THE KING (spoiler alert:  It won’t be Aragorn).  Jersus will fight, He will win, and He will share the victory with us.

In the meantime (we can see it happening even now), Christianity will be marginalized, it will be regulated, and in time it will be illegal.  Things will go from bad to worse, Christians will suffer – if you are still alive – YOU will suffer, or maybe it will be your children, or your grandchildren.  Are you still interested in just praying for release?  I am not.