Rifqa

September 29, 2009 at 7:16 pm Leave a comment

***Update on Rifqa****

Apparently, Rifqa’s parents filed a hearing for the case to be moved from Orlando to Columbus, where her family lives.  The hearing has been duly moved to a new judge in Columbus and is scheduled for October 27.  Making things even more tricky is the fact that Rifqa is not even a U.S. citizen, and she could possibly be deported back to her native Sri Lanka – where she would indeed be immediately killed.  However, her parents are treading on thin ice with these hearings; they have apparently let their visas expire and have been living in the U.S. illegally for five years.  A good prayer for now would be that they would be deported, but Rifqa would be granted political asylum and allowed to stay!

(Origional post below)

I don’t even know this girl.  And yet I’ve been so struck – so touched, so challenged – by her courage. 

When I think about persecution (which I really don’t…), it doesn’t seem very real to me.  Partly because it’s horrifying to learn about, so (confession time!) I generally avoid it.  And partly because I am just so blessed to live in this free country, and it seems like persecution could never come to America.  It doesn’t really affect me. 

Meet Rifqa Bary.  On her seventeenth birthday, she fled for her life, riding a bus from Ohio to Florida in hopes that she could stay with a pastor’s family that she found online.  She comes from a devout Muslim family, but became a Christian.  Perhaps the reasons for her flight are obvious; according to a page on the Florida Security Council website  “Apostasy is regarded as a capital offense in the Koran, to be punished by death.”  And because she is a minor, she is currently tangled in a court battle as the judges try to rule in favor of family unification, her parents speak sweet things, and she pleads for someone to believe her.  “You don’t understand,” she has said repeatedly.  “They have to kill me.  In 150 generation in my family no one  has known Jesus – I am the first one.  Imagine the honor in killing me.” 

She said that she was prepared to be a martyr, and that she was okay with that, but then God seemed to open the door to let her run away. 

I can’t even imagine what she is going through; I believe another hearing is scheduled for today.  Please pray. 

~

I found an interesting quote in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Circle of Quiet today.  She writes: “Gilbert Higher remarks that we are about to enter the post-Christian world.  I am not good with chronology, but it seems to me that we have been in the post-Christian world since 1054 when the Eastern and Western worlds split, or maybe even earlier when Constantine made Christianity mandatory instead of dangerous and forbidden.” 

I find myself wondering why we see so many remnants of dying Christianity in America; so many people claiming to be Christians, but not acting like it at all, or declaring themselves atheists because they just can’t believe in God anymore.  And yet it’s flourishing in these places where it is forbidden, in the places where the penalties are instantaneous and severe. 

I think there are lots of reasons why this is true.  One is that the more Christianity becomes required, or the cultural norm, or even the cultural history, as is the case today – it’s passed down halfheartedly from people who never really cared and never really understood it and never really believed in Jesus to more people who don’t care, don’t understand, and don’t believe.  The result is shameful and pathetic.  But the real Christianity spreads like a fire when it is persecuted, because these are people who are sincere and passionate.  They haveto believe it with their whole hearts, minds, and souls, because they know they’ll live a horrible life for it – or they won’t live much at all.  For them, there is much at stake, and they have to weigh it and make a conscious choice.  When someone shares the Gospel with them, it is someone who is risking his own life and discovery to rescue others as he has been rescued. 

What a difference.  Paul writes in Philippians, “There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ.  There’s also suffering for Him.  And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.”  (Phil 1:29-30, The Message).  We can see the blessings manifested through suffering and persecution, although we naturally shrink from it in fear.  But it must be on of those eternal mysteries that we can’t understand until we experience it, or maybe can’t even understand until heaven.  But God promises it is a gift. 

I want that kind of vibrant life those people live.  The kind that knows why they are here and where they are going and doesn’t get sidetracked into thinking that the point of life is to “have fun”.  But they truly live

These are the thoughts working their way around my mind right now; they probably don’t even make sense to anyone else.  But I must write for my own sake, to understand myself.  (This is also why you’ll see me lecturing my posters as I study!  Our our fishie, who is still alive).

Maybe next post I’ll write about the fun weekend (despite the painful game) or the awesome debate I attended on the economic bailouts.  Or I’ll write more about my school or the fishies or anything interesting.  But for now, this is where I am.

And now, as the sun has decided to sleep all day today, I’m off to go make my own sunshine.

Pressing on,

Megan

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pieces of my days In which we faint

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