What Is He Thinking?
Youcef Nadarkhani is being held today in an Iranian prison, condemned for being a follower of Jesus Christ. His execution could be just hours away. His story has gotten worldwide attention, and the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a resolution calling for his release. Read the full story here. Arrests of Christians are not unusual in Iran, and estimates are that over a dozen are being detained at any one time. Many are released only to be rearrested.
Nadarkhani was arrested in 2010 and has been offered numerous opportunities to recant his faith and accept the teachings of Islam. If he did so, he would supposedly be given his freedom and be allowed to return home to his wife and two young sons. However, he has repeatedly refused to deny his faith in Christ.
Not long after he was arrested, he sent a letter out of his prison cell. Some of his correspondence sounded much like the Apostle Paul. Nardarkhani wrote, “As a small servant, necessarily in prison to carry out what I must do, I say with faith in the word of God that he will come soon.’However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?'” You can read the full text here.
Few, if any of us, could begin to imagine what he must be thinking today two years after languishing in prison and losing his last appeal for release to the Iranian Supreme Court. Is he more concerned about his family that his own life? Is he aware of several other Christians arrested at their house church this past month and praying for them? Is he experiencing doubt about his ability to stay true to his beliefs in Christ?
Our responsibility as fellow Christians must be to pray for Nadarkhani and for all those under similar persecution. The Psalmist wrote, “May the groans of the prisoners come before you; by the strength of your arm preserve those condemned to die.” Psalm 79:11. Would you join with me in praying the Lord will preserve Nadarkhani’s life or if he is to be martyred that his witness will bring God glory?