Nov 07 2018
God named Ishmael ‘God hears’ before he was born. Years later, God heard Ishmael’s cry when he was perishing in the wilderness and opened his mother’s eyes to see a spring of water from which she gave him drink – and he lived!
Islam claims Ishmael as a spiritual forefather. Today’s
Muslims are in the wilderness perishing and crying out for living water. Let the Church pray to the Father to reveal the well of living water, Jesus, so they might live!
What does this have to do with me?
Asia Bibi is a Catholic Pakistani sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws for insulting the prophet of Islam. A farm labourer, her mistake was drinking out of the same water glass as her Muslim coworkers. The charges “stemmed from her Christian identity as well as false accusations against her," says David Curry, CEO of Open Doors USA. Bibi was acquitted by Pakistan’s Supreme Court on October 31. Even after being held in solitary confinement on death row since 2010, “she is psychologically, physically and spiritually strong…she is ready and willing to die for Christ. She will never convert to Islam,” reports her husband Ashiq Masih.
Islamist party Tehrik-e Labaik Pakistan (TLP) staged violent protests against her acquittal, causing extreme damage and forcing the government to order the Supreme Court to review its ruling. Bibi is being hidden and is prohibited from leaving Pakistan until the review, which could take years.
In the past month I’ve attended 3 Christian gatherings (international and national) where it was normal to see believers raising their hands in praise to God and loving one another and those who served us. What a contrast to see video from Pakistan of raging men filling the streets, arms raised in violent gestures, displaying photographs of Bibi with a noose around her neck. Their threats are not just hot air. The Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer and Federal Minister of Minority Affairs, Shehbaz Bhatti were both assassinated in 2011 for defending Bibi, and her lawyer fled Pakistan after her acquittal. TLP is committed to enforcing blasphemy law.
Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar says the blasphemy law originated in colonial Britain’s efforts to keep things harmonious between different faiths, but later became a tool to legitimize religious persecution and divide and alienate people (https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/pakistan/blasphemy-law-and-asia-bibi-zealots-exploit-the-system-and-the-victim-is-pakistan-1.1541679067666). Pakistan’s newly named Cardinal Joseph Coutts laments that a minority of fanatics keeps his nation of mostly moderates in captivity to hatred and violence (https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2018/06/28/pakistans-new-cardinal-says-climate-in-islamic-nation-dictates-restraint/). Read these articles (ctlick on the links to open them) to understand the situation better.
So, what does this situation have to do with you and me?
- The apostle Paul establishes that “If one part [of the Body of Christ] suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it” (1 Co 12:26). Pakistani Christians are us.
Father, we pray with suffering believers in Pakistan for the power to fix our eyes on Jesus and endure every evil attack (1 Pe 2:12) without denying You (Mk 8:38).
- Our own culture increasingly encourages us to demand apologies and punishments for every offense – to the point where those who would speak truth in righteousness are intimidated into silence. But Jesus says when Christians are offended (sinned against) we must forgive as the Father forgives us (Mt 6:14-15; 18:21-35).
- forgive us for insisting on our right to take offense and get revenge. Strengthen us to forgive continually as You forgive us. May we glory in the offense of the cross and our Christ (Gal 5:11, 1 Pe 2:6-8 ESV, Heb 13:13).
- The uproar is because Bibi allegedly blasphemed the prophet of Islam, who cannot tolerate perceived insults. In Jesus’ incarnation, He forgave even His killers: “Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven…
Jesus, You are worthy of praise because You are so far above human nature. We pray for Your worthiness to be seen in Bibi’s faithfulness. We call for full disclosure of the unworthy human nature of Islam’s prophet.
- Lord, please release Asia Bibi safely and soon, and bless and keep her family. Please defuse and confuse the fanaticism of Islamist response to her release.
The comment feature is locked by administrator.