An Iranian man from the Baha’i faith struggled with an embarrassing nervous habit for 28 years. When he was with strangers he would bite his nails and shake his feet. Contacted by an outreach team in a country near Iran, he visited the church and met with strangers. As the Baha’i spent time with the Christians, reading the Bible and praying, he realised he was neither biting his nails, nor shaking. For him this was a miracle. In his heart he then asked God to confirm whether this was His living presence, and he opened the New Testament to 1 Thessalonians 5:24: ‘The one who called you is faithful and He will do it.’ The Baha’i man gave his life to Christ.
Not many of the world’s five million Baha’is have done the same and accepted Christ, and one reason for this is that they have suffered for their own religious faith, especially in Iran. Here their faith in humanity’s collective evolution towards justice revealed by divine messengers has been persecuted since 1863 when its founder, Baha’u’llah, announced in Tehran he was the next Messiah. Iran refuses to grant Baha’ism the status of a minority religion, but instead say its members are apostates from Islam, and more recently they have been accused of being Zionists and political opponents of the government. Today there are over 100 Baha’is in prison in Iran, and over 500 court cases against them. Hundreds of thousands have fled the country.
Their suffering has tended to strengthen their commitment to their own faith and so make them less open to the Gospel. But as the above story shows, the Holy Spirit also wants to draw them to the true Messiah. It is important that this small minority (there are about 300,000 in Iran) hear the Gospel, and experience the living God's touch in tangible ways.
• More outreach to Baha’is
• Baha’is to give their lives to Christ
• The Baha’i who has recently become a Christian