Land of the Free
So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure. – 2 Thessalonians 1:4
An organization called Open Doors monitors Christian persecution around the world. It reports that the worst
offender in persecution against Christians is North Korea, where many believers are beaten, tortured, and even killed for their faith. Simply owning
a Bible is a crime that can send someone to a political prison camp, where it is estimated that 50,000 to 70,000 Christians are currently being held.
This account of persecution could easily be discouraging to Christians around the world, but there is also good news to report. Despite the grave threat
to their lives, Open Doors approximates that there are 400,000 underground Christians living in North Korea! They have chosen Christ over
personal safety, and as Paul stated in today’s focus verse, this example of resolute faith is something to glory in! God is working in North Korea.
On Independence Day, Americans take time to appreciate the blessings of living in the United States, and perhaps most of all we are thankful for the right
to practice our Christian faith without fear. Citizens of the United States are privileged to have a country founded on godly principles, a country
that God has blessed in many ways throughout its history. This nation is by no means perfect, yet we never want to take for granted the ability to
worship God exactly as the Bible instructs. Not everyone has that freedom.
We thank God for leading men and women to found this free nation, and for inspiring others to defend and preserve it. But in our celebration, let us not
forget our brothers and sisters in Christ who do not enjoy these same liberties. Paul said he rejoiced in the patience and faith of persecuted Christians,
and he also said he would pray for them. In the last two verses of 2 Thessalonians 1, Paul wrote: “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our
God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
May we also pray for persecuted Christians around the world today.