Light In the midst of darkness

At the beginning of this new year, I feel the Lord wants me to share this post with you... I don't feel eloquent enough at all to write it, but I know that the Lord will help me. Throughout the year of 2011 my family and I have felt a great burden for our brothers and sisters in Christ in persecuted countries (especially Egypt) who have suffered throughout the year. That's why I post today. 

Exactly a year ago, on New Year's Eve a terrorist bomb exploded outside a church in Alexandria, Egypt during a midnight church service as Christians were coming out from the midnight mass. It was horrific and unbelievable. At least 25 Coptic Christians were killed that day and many more were wounded. This event shook the Christians in Egypt and the whole nation to its core. Less than a month later, the Revolution was born and the dictator President Mubarak stepped down. And yet, none of the criminals who did this horrible act were punished in any way or arrested. An interim government took power (the Military) and the Extremest Muslim groups grew really strong, quickly. Daily throughout the year after this event my family and I heard of the destruction of homes and businesses of the Christians, the abducting of Christian girls, and the murder of Christians especially in the smaller country villages. Many Christians started to peacefully protest against the injustice done to them. The Military, the police, and the Muslim extremists all attacked them on many occasions. The worst was on October 9. The army and Muslim thugs attacked the Christians. The peaceful protesters were crushed over by huge military vehicles and shot down with live fire guns. At least 50 people were killed, a lot more were injured. To read more about it, visit my sister Sarah's blog: Gems of Faith In History

But this isn't narrowly confined to Egypt! In Nigeria this Christmas something like what happened in Alexandria last New Year happened in a church there. Two bombs exploded and over 40 Christians were killed, and 73 others wounded. The nation is in mourning and the Christians are in deep traumatic shock and suffering. To read the full story, go to: Open Doors USA There is so much suffering and pain now all over the world where Christians (the body of Christ) still suffers.  It broke my heart then and still does now... and I wondered... "O God, why?" "Why so much suffering?" As the year went on, the Lord has been showing me...a little bit perhaps of the purpose for all the suffering. Later in this post I want to share what God is doing in the midst of the suffering. Also I've begun to reflect a lot on my own faith and wonder what I'd do if I were in the place of my brothers and sisters. They can deny their faith and all their suffering would cease. But they love the Lord Jesus! They wouldn't deny Him even if it means suffering and death. They are so hungry for God... they seek Him and cry out to Him day and night in blood and tears. 

I want to first share with you a powerful video describing the state of the Copts in Egypt throughout the last year or so. Especially concentrating on the suffering of the Christians during the bombing of the Saints Church in Alexandria, and the more recent event of the attack in Maspero TV building. Here is the video, but it is in Arabic though it has some translation at the beginning. I'd very much advice you to see the English translation on YouTube: here.

WARNING: this film has some graphic footage for younger audiences. Sadly the truth can be painful!


The last little bit is without a translation I'm sorry but in many ways the scene tells it all... the Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda weeps while preaching after one of the horrific events that shook the Christians in 2011. Loosely translated in English what he says is, "For your sake [the Christians] I am here, you are on my heart and thoughts...your sufferings and trials... I bring to God and I bring it to those responsible... those who are innocent in prison... I have sorrow for their sake and I bring them in my prayers that they may be freed. And what things people can't solve God can solve! God has promised to be with us at all times and we trust in this and believe in His work and we wait for the Lord. The Lord is present [in control] and all is for good. "The Lord is present" means that the Lord sees, the Lord hears, the Lord knows all that is happening. The Lord is acting. The Lord is present everywhere and is with everyone and is there in all circumstances... the Lord is present." 
P.S. "the Lord is present" when translated from Arabic can also mean "The Lord is in control".

I said earlier on I said that I wondered at why God allows His children to go through such persecution and I still do. I am sure we all do. But I know that God is faithful and through this year of suffering God has visited His people... His light still shines in a dark world. Sarah (my dear sister) posted about this on her blog and she allowed me to 'link it up' here on my blog. To view her full post go to: Gems of Faith in History

"At this moment, let us also remember our brothers and sisters  in the Lord around the world who are suffering and are persecuted. I have in mind the sad bombings of Churches in Nigeria this past Christmas. May the Lord strengthen them and comfort them. 

The following video clip has gone viral on the Internet. Though you will most probably never see it on the normal media. It happened a few weeks ago in Cairo, Egypt in the Moukatam Cave Church, during a long 'Night of Prayer and Return to God' meeting in which at least 70,000 people attended. Earlier this year, some members of this Church experienced martyrdom during one of the many attacks on Christians this year. See what the Lord is doing.
'And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' (Acts 2:21) 
'The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.' (Proverbs 18:10)

Thousands in Egypt shout JESUS for 10 consecutive minutes. It was also totally spontaneous!
  

The song "Hail, Jesus, Your my King!' in Arabic while the congregation shouts JESUS!


Amen! May the Lord give us more of this worldwide in this coming new year!"

The Lord has not forsaken His people... He is doing mighty things, and holy is His name! Yes, it is painful, the way is hard and full of sorrow. But Jesus is present with us. He will be our guide even to death. This New Year, as Sarah said, I know the Lord will do something wonderful in our lives, in His Church and across the world. May we not forgot the part of the Body of Christ that still suffers. Let us be a voice to the voiceless and pray for them and let us look forward eagerly to this New Year for what the Lord will do!

Comments

  1. Dear Joy,
    Yes, this was indeed a painful time for our brothers and sisters in Egypt and in many other places around the world. When one part of the body suffers the whole suffers. Yet, it is encouraging and comforting that the Lord's light always shines in the midst of the darkest night. Thank you for sharing. Jesus is always victor! Amen!

    much love,
    Sarah

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  2. Dearest Joy,

    Amen, Jesus is Victor. "The Lord is present". Thank you so much, dear sister, for sharing this. Indeed the truth is painful. But oh, how He has visited His people through this year of suffering as you shared.

    Praise His holy Name, He is in control.

    With much love and prayer,
    your sister, Maddy

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  3. Dearest Sarah,

    This is so true! There is much suffering in the Body of Christ but also so much of God's love and light in the midst of it all! Thank you for your comment, my dear big sister!
    ~Joy

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  4. Dearest Maddy,

    Thank you for your encouraging comment, dear sister... yes, Jesus is Victor, The Lord is present even in the painful suffering of His people, and oh! How has He indeed visited His people!

    Please keep praying, dear Maddy!
    In His love,
    ~Joy

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  6. ThinkGreen,

    Thank you for stopping by my little blog, and for your lovely comment as well. I am thankful that this post has inspired you in anyway. I am always very much challenged by the faith and courage of my brothers and sisters in Christ in the persecuted world, and it is my desire to always remember them in prayer and have them as an example to love and follow Jesus, no matter the cost!

    In His love,
    ~Joy

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  7. Beautiful post! Thank you so much for adding me to your 'blogs I enjoy' list. I really appreciate it! I was wondering if you would do me a favor. Would mind changing my button to the current one? The last design was pretty bad.

    Thanks again.

    Blessings,
    Carli

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  8. Thanks for your sweet comment, Carli. I changed your blog button now. Your new design and button are really beautiful by the way :).
    ~Joy

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