Since the terrible news started coming out of Iraq about the ethnic cleansing, even genocide, of Christians, Muslims, Yazidis and other minority groups, a cry has gone up about the apparent lack of outrage from Christians. Why are they so quiet?
Noted Christian leaders have publicly chastised those in power for a lack of a timely response, and the overseas Christians for their apparent silence. At least now aid is slowly starting to get through and air strikes are being targeted at I.S. strongholds. Even so, there is still an almost deafening public silence from the body of Christ. Where are the petitions, the demonstrations, the protest marches? Gentle Jesus, meek and mild? Turn the other cheek?
What follows is not to make little of the plight of those dying for their faith in Mosul and the surrounding areas, rather a call to arms to the Christians who pray, to pray.
Daniel was a well respected leader of his day. In Daniel 6 we can read how when faced with persecution, he kept his faith in God strong, even though he knew it would probably cost him his life. Daniel was one of three governors accountable only to the king. Because of the way Daniel conducted himself, King Darius was considering promoting him to be responsible over the whole kingdom. The other governors and administrators became jealous of this and persuaded King Darius to pass a law that, for the next month anyone who prayed or worshipped anyone other than the King should be put to death.
Convert or die. Sounds familiar? This was Daniel’s response:
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. (Dan 6:10)
Daniel was found out, and sentenced to death by being thrown into a pit of lions which would then be sealed shut. As many Sunday schoolers will know, God kept the lions from attacking Daniel and in the morning he was found alive and well, without a scratch on him. The King realised how powerful God was and passed a decree that all people in the kingdom should respect Daniel’s God.
My lack of action
Organising massive acts of social action is not my thing. It’s not something I would even know how to start. I can sign an online petition, but that still feels pretty lame when people are dying. The most I can normally do in my own little bubble in the west is to try and keep informed of what is going on and maybe start a discussion or something. Pretty weak, eh.
Some part of me knows that I want to do something, but what? I just manage to get my head around one crisis when another one pops up and I have to start over.
I reckon, that living in the West and having a constant stream of bad news drip fed to me by the media also numbs me. US v Afganistan, US v Terror (what ever that means), IDF v Hamas, ISIS v Iraq, IS v Christians .. it just feels like a list of one group of people beating up another group of people. I get fatigued by it all and loose track. Incidentally, Obama; if what I.S. is doing isn’t terrorism and therefore needs to be handled under your “war on terror”, what the fuck would be?
Many Christ followers will agree, that through prayer we have a direct connection to the Father, and very often we feel that connection. We believe, feel and know that God has heard our prayers and He will act. My petition has been heard by the very highest power. I need do no more. Daniel did no more. He prayed, God saved Him.
Many, many Christians in Iraq have prayed for protection and intervention, divine or human, which didn’t come in time. They paid for their faith with their life’s blood. If this doesn’t upset you, it should do. They didn’t receive the miracle of Daniel, and I wish they had. I really wish they had.
If I am honest, I’ve not prayed as often as I feel I should have. But I have prayed and when I remember, I pray again. I’ve knelt and prayed and pleaded. I have reminded God about the blood of martyrs that has been shed. I’ve have prayed for God to wipe away I.S. from the face of the earth, and I have prayed for God to have mercy on their souls; they do not know what they are doing. God forgive me, I hope this is last time I pray something like that.
This is my outrage. And I pour it out from my knees.
Never mistake a quiet Christian for a weak one. We go into our bedrooms, and in secret pour out our hearts to the Lord Almighty, sometimes without words, sometimes all we can do is groan and trust that God who knows our hearts will answer our prayers, and that He will answer them powerfully.
God is our refuge and our strength, and an ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46)
So, please when there is hardship in the world, a tragedy, a massacre, a death and the Christians seem silent, don’t think we are uncaring or unaffected. We are far from silent, we are praying.