In the western hemisphere, we read the Gospel, and recount the passion of Christ’s journey from the Last Supper to his suffering and death on the Cross at Golgotha. Many times, the account of our redemption seems far removed, as though we are reading a fiction novel. It inspires, yes, and we claim with Peter, we say in our hearts, “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” (Matthew 26:35). But, living in the western hemisphere where, Christians can publically worship, are we certain that if our faith was tested, would it be found solid?
We can learn the reality of the Christian life in reading the accounts of the Martyrs through the ages; those who, when threatened with their lives, made it perfectly clear where they stood; their place was firmly fixed at the foot of the Cross, willing and ready to die for their faith in Jesus Christ. But such is the reality of the Christian witness (from the Greek word μάρτυς, from which we get the word martyr).
Such men and women exist today, in countries where to openly profess to be Christian brings condemnation to oneself, and danger to his family. One such account is unfolding in Afghanistan, in the life of Christian, Said Musa. Matthew Archbold reports, “An Afghanistan Christian and father of six, is imprisoned and scheduled to die. His crime? He believes Christ is his Savior. And he is scheduled to die because of it. No defense lawyer will take his case for fear of retribution. And he has been told that if he renounces Christ things would go easier. But he doesn’t. He won’t. Musa wrote a public letter which I will excerpt here, courtesy of The Barnabus Fund. The English is rough but I think you’ll understand what he’s saying:
“To the international church of world and to the President Brother Barak Obama President of the United States and to the head of ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] in Afghanistan!
“My name is Said Musa 45 years old. I have been working since 15 years as a Physiotherapist in I-C-R-C [International Committee of the Red Cross] orthopaedic centre in Kabul, Afghanistan. About four and a half months before by security force of Afghanistan I [was] captured, due to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world.
…Since that time I am in jail. The authority and prisoners in jail did many bad behaviour with me about my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. For example, they did sexual things with me, beat me by wood, by hands, by legs, put some things on my head, mocked me ‘He’s Jesus Christ’, spat on me, nobody let me for sleep night and day. Every person spat on me and beat me. Also the prosecutor wrote something wrong against me. He told from himself something wrong against me on my file.
“He is stimulating every day the prisoners against me, ‘He is also in jail due to spy for Iran country’, to reveal the church in Kabul. I’m in a very and very bad condition in the jail.
“I agree with long imprisonment about my faith even for long life. Because I’m the sinnest person in the world. Because sometimes they treated for died I refuse my faith due to died. Sometimes I tolerate the persecution but immediately I acknowledge my sin before Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Don’t refuse me before your holy angels and before your Father.’ Because I am very very weak and sinful man…
“I am alone between 400 handlers of terrible values in the jail like a sheep. Please, please, for the sake of Lord Jesus Christ help me. Please send a person who should supervise my document and my file, what I said in it. My prosecutor has told something wrong to the judge because he asked [for] money but I refused his request. Please, please you should transfer me from this jail to a jail that supervises the believers. I also agree with died on cross of my pride. I also agree with the sacrifice [of] my life in public, I will tell the faith in Lord Jesus Christ son of God and other believers will take courage and be strong in their faith. Hundred percent I am stable to my word. I have family of seven – one wife, three daughters and three sons. My big son [is] about eight years old. One of my daughters can’t speak, she has some mental problems.
“This is a request from me to all over the world, people please help me. I could not have any person to help. For [the] sake [of] Lord Jesus Christ please pray and immediately help me and rescue me from this jail. Otherwise, they will kill me, because I know they’re very very very cruel and hard hearted!
“Your destitute brother in the world.
“Please my English writing is not enough good. If I did some mistake please forgive me! From Kabul Provincial jail.””
As I finished reading, I said to myself, “here is my brother Christian teaching us all how to live our Faith in Jesus Christ!” Our brother Said is living the passion of our Lord. I pray anew that I too might have such resolve in my daily choices, and I thank the Lord for him, for his testimony (μάρτυς) of faith, that others might believe, and all Christians might be strengthened.
We must support our brother and his family with our prayers, and do what we can in our own sphere of influence to get others to join our efforts to bring justice for Said, and all others who face religious persecution around the world.
It is a call, an echo of little Adam’s cry (the three-year-old Coptic Christian who was killed in Baghdad in December) to end the violence and hatred in the world: “Enough! Enough! Enough!”.
Said, my brother, my prayers are with you, begging that you may be strengthened throughout this unimaginable test of faith, for your perseverance, and for your deliverance. Lord, in your mercy, hear and answer us.
UPDATE: Said Musa was released from prison in February 21st, due to international pressure and human rights groups. Via Persecution.Org. Yet, another Christian convert is behind bars for giving another a Bible. The Christian testimony continues…
Said Musa’s handwritten letter, posted by the Barnabas Fund
I am in Awe of Such Faith, Matthew Archbold