If the last six months have reminded me of anything, it is this: To preach Christ we have to be willing to suffer. There is no other way - because there is never discipleship without a cross. A. W. Tozer put it in these stirring words: “Every advance that we make for God and for His cause must be made at our inconvenience. If it does not inconvenience us at all, there is no cross in it.”
If this is true, and I believe it is, the arrest of at least 202 Christians in Iran in the last six months will surely lead to great advances for the church.
I remember a time when less than 100 Iranians had come to Christ. But Christians willingly paid a price and the church grew beyond our expectation. My friend, Hossein Soodmand, was executed in 1990 in the city of Mashad, a city of two million. Despite intense persecution by the government, he refused to save his life and abandon his small flock of 15 simple believers.
Was it worth such a sacrifice? Well, in October 2010 a government official publicly stated that there are 200 house churches in the city of Mashad alone. I’d say his was a life well spent. You can read Hossein Soodmand’s incredible story on our site here.
You can also be encouraged by reading Maryam and Marzieh’s story. I know for a fact that their willingness to suffer 259 days in a Tehran prison caused other Christians in Iran to become even bolder witnesses. One network decided to increase Scripture distribution. Last year they averaged about 5,000 copies a month, and helped make 2010 a record year for Scripture distribution in Iran.
As I read the Bible, there is just no escaping it: to preach Christ, you have to be willing to suffer. May the Lord grant each of us the grace to count it all joy.
Yours in His Grace,
Founder and Director