God’s blessings are upon the persecuted, the battered on all corners, and the tormented on all sides. It’s hard to understand why we can find blessings in our lives.
The Persecuted Christians in Sudan
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.1 Peter 4:12-14 (ESV)
1 Peter 4 is a beautiful passage that sums up God’s divine love for us. It’s an assurance that regardless of our circumstances in life, God will never leave us nor forsake us. God prepared us for what’s coming. He already revealed His Glory in the person of Jesus Christ. And this glory is right within our hearts.
Christ is the source of all blessings. Jesus reminds us, calling us beloved, that fiery trials will come, but we can rejoice because we share with Jesus Christ’s sufferings. The Bible says blessings are on the persecuted when they are in right standing with God, for they will receive the kingdom of heaven.
The Danger Sudanese Christians Face
God blessed the Sudanese during extreme violence and persecution from the Islamic militant. The political chaos in Sudan exposed Christians to Islamic Conservatives, because of the separation of South Sudan in 2011. The Islamic Militants press for a Shariah sovereignty and follow the Shariah Law.
They arrested and harassed believers and demolished Christian churches. The extremists attacked and killed them. And they displaced thousands of Christians within the Nuba Mountain Region. It made Sudan the fourth violent persecuted country. A top-level of violence besides the Nuba Mountain Region is Darfur, South of Kordofan, and the Blue Nile State regions.
Government security forces targeted and attacked Christians randomly. They intimidated children in school and on the playground because of their parents’ faith. Christians avoid browsing Christian TV and internet programs that could be evidence against them. The Shariah Law punished Christian converts with the Muslim background with death, according to Open Doors. And according to France24.com, Sudan Christians suffered years of persecution under the regime of Islamist general, Omar al-Bashir. His downfall gave Christians hope for religious freedom.
The Bible says blessed are the persecuted when the world hates them and calls them evil for Jesus’s sake. The Sudanese Christians hold on with tenacity with their faith. Despite the sufferings and persecution, they have Jesus Christ, the glory of God in their hearts, and they have something to look forward to when they finish the race of their lives. The glorious presence of God is nothing compared to the sufferings they have endured.
The Persecuted Pastors in Sudan
After an attack on their church, Sudanese Christians had joy when they find pieces of the burnt Bible that they could put together. The scripture encouraged and comforted them. The Bible says blessings of joy and gladness are on the persecuted, for they will receive the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:10-12).
According to Nuba Reports, Since 2011, the Sudan government has burned and demolished a minimum of six churches. Four men, including two pastors, face execution in Sudan. The government arrested them for suspicion of converting Muslims into Christianity, and for exposing the harsh treatment of Christians. They released one Nuba pastor. While two pastors, a Czech Christian aid worker, and two Sudanese civil rights activists are still in prison and facing the death penalty, surviving on two meals of beans a day. The guards wake them up at five in the morning every day.
Their imprisonment became a blessing for the Nuba pastors. They spend their days teaching in the prison and sharing the Word of God under the frequent verbal abuse by the guards. Pastor Shamal remains hopeful for their release. He prayed and forgave the people who arrested them.
Persecuted Christians Can Still Find Joy and Gladness
The Bible says blessings are on the persecuted, for God will not separate them from His love. The presence of God is a blessing to these persecuted believers. That hope and joy to show the Word of God behind the walls of the prison. It’s a privilege to share the suffering of Christ on the cross. And find the real meaning of God’s love and forgiveness.
To share the love of God is the ultimate blessing for the persecuted. This love does not torment. This love gives. God manifested His love for us through Christ, who gave His life on the cross to save us. When we received Christ as our Savior, God made us righteous in Him through Christ, and the blessing on the persecuted is no separation from His love.
God gives joy and gladness to the persecuted. For those who are upright in Christ, for they will receive the Kingdom of Heaven. The Christians in Sudan are blessed.