Remember Those in Prison

"Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." -- Hebrews 13:3

I heard the LORD is calling me from deep and said, "Give me your ears and listen to me my child, if one part suffers, every part suffers with it." It's true that the suffering of our precious one's doesn't weaken our faith but to the contrary it strengthen it. They are our greatest point of reference for uncompromising faith. However it should never be a matter of jubilation. We shouldn't confuse the singing and perseverance of those who are in prison as a message of indifference towards injustice. It's SOS call to the body of Christ to suffer and stand with them. 

The previous evening I was discussing the issue of the bleeding church in Eritrea with a wonderful brother who is so passionate about the persecuted church all over the world. He also happens to be someone who passed through the fire of persecution. He told me he found out that from some reliable readings what's happening in Eritrea is very similar with the situation in North Korea. He said, "It's a legitimate statement to declare that, Eritrea becomes the North Korea of Africa." And he generously shared the resources with me. He said, when he reads about those who are in prison, he reads the story of his own brother and sister. That really left a heavy impression on me. That's what the LORD is asking, to personalize and feel their suffering as our own. And he showed as this love in practice. He didn't say, "Saul! Why are you persecuting them? rather he said, "Saul! Why are you persecuting me?" 

And this morning in church I am so touched when the preacher suddenly mentioned the suffering of the Church in Eritrea. And I might be the only Eritrean among the more than 5000 congregates in attendance. He said, "Believe it or not, right now thousand's of believers and many Pastors are in harsh prison in Eritrea. This includes my dear brother and friend Dr. Kiflu, who is somewhere in unknown desert in a container." And he continued saying, a while ago he prayed together with the wife of Dr. Kiflu and he was so amazed by the tenacity and faith in Christ he saw in her and the children at the midst of such a heavy storm. And this testimony gave a mighty strength to the core message of the Sermon. And I felt so proud and humbled to be called a brother of Dr. Kiflu and his family. Their life of suffering and hardship for Christ is touching many lives beyond the borders of Eritrea. 

For now our prisoners are the only honor we have in Eritrea. We must stand with them and be their advocate in the streets of our cities and in our pulpits. We should not be shy to echo their suffering all over the world. As once Benjamin Franklin said, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

Love and blessings

Brehane-meskel Araya