Tears. These small drops of water can mean so many different things. Every person on the face of this earth has cried. Some tears have been shed for joy, others for sadness, and many for no apparent reason at all. It is strange, yet beautiful, that God created this emotional, functional, and powerful expression of the human soul. When children cry, we look to respond to their need. When a teenage girl cries over a celebrity divorce, we roll our eyes, but when an old person cries, we stop to listen.
I had spent a few days traveling from Burundi to this busy metropolis of Kolkata, India. I was to be working in West Bengal (an eastern Indian state) for a few weeks with some great friends; Dave Scammell, Maurice Roberts, and D.K. Sarkar. Several items filled our agenda, but none more challenging and humbling than to spend time with the persecuted churches in a district outside the city.
Crops being destroyed, animals being taken, and fire wood being stolen are the least of concerns for the churches that meet throughout this area. Radical Muslims have taken it upon themselves to make life difficult for the minority Christians. People who have converted from Islam to Christianity often have it the worst. These people are ostracized from their families, beaten, and even killed.
A few weeks before I arrived, a local church member was dragged away from his family and tortured to death for nothing more, and nothing less, than accepting Jesus as God. His wife and children, now left behind, looked to this man as a husband, a father, and a friend. I can’t imagine the pain this murder must be causing them.
It was this story that brought an old man, weathered and wise, to weep before me as he explained the situation. He was a close friend to this man and has shared in the trials of persecution.
I heard each drop of water hit the tile floor as he told the story. Despite all the sayings that explain a man’s tears run down his throat, or real men don’t cry, when you lose a loved one like this; you just can’t help it.
He explained the needs of the widow and children left without a father. Sadly, this wasn’t a random incident, rather an example of the growing hostility to Christian people from their not-yet-Christian neighbors. We talked together and discussed details of aid that could be dispersed to this family and a business training program that will help her cultivate skills needed to provide an income to the family. As this conversation drew to a close, the man got on his knees and began praying for God to comfort the widow and kids in this trial.
Jesus never promised we would have peace for believing in Him. In fact, Jesus said His name would bring persecution. He said His name would divide families and those that follow Him may be tortured or killed, as He was.
Pray for this church as they seek to comfort and support this widow. This is a crucial time in her leaning on God and the local church helping her. We have done what we can to offer support from our side and are attentive to any further developments.
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