Standing Strong Through the Storm - January 20

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GOD WILL NEVER LEAVE OR FORSAKE US
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6  

“When I was pregnant with our sixth child,” says Bahar from Central Asia, “my husband Bahtiyar fell ill and was diagnosed with stomach cancer. We often prayed for his healing and together with the few other believers in our village we looked to God for His help. Bahtiyar was also seeing a doctor, but not much could be done for him.    

“Shortly before Bahtiyar’s death several men from the village mosque came to our house and talked to him. They knew he had been a Muslim before and had become a Christian. Now, when he was so ill, they started debating with him and urged him to return to Islam, promising that they would give him a decent burial. Bahtiyar did not have to think about it at all; he refused to deny Jesus and sent the men away.    

“He was with us for three more days; then he passed away and went to be with the Lord. It is our custom to bury our dead on the same day, so when my son went to the other believers in the village and told them that his dad had died they arrived immediately to arrange his funeral. They and other Christians from a nearby town did everything that needed to be done and really took good care of us as a family. According to our tradition Bahtiyar’s body was put in a yurt so people could pay their respects.   

“As we lived in a small village the news that Bahtiyar had died was out in no time and it did not take long before the Mullah and many men from the village came to the yurt and started to shout at the believers. “You can’t bury him here in our cemetery, we don’t want him here! This man has left our religion, he has betrayed us, and we don’t want him to defile our cemetery. Find another place!” They were really angry and even threatened to burn our house and the yurt with Bahtiyar’s body. The believers called the police but it took a while before they arrived. Meantime they moved his body to Kisul, another village nearby.   

“For a while I was completely confused and did not know what to do. Was God still in control? Was He watching over us as a family, over me? Here I was, pregnant with my sixth child, my husband had just died, we had so many problems burying him and the whole village, including my own mother in law, was against us. Where and how were we going to live?    

“God has promised in His Word that He will never leave us, nor forsake us, and He never does. For a brief period I thought that God had left me, but fortunately that did not last long. Soon God reassured me of His presence, I rediscovered my joy in God and I trust that He is in control.

RESPONSE: Today I will rejoice in God’s reassurance of His presence and control of all things in my life.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, that You are concerned about the smallest details of my life regardless of the circumstances. 

STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM (SSTS) -A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks
© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” Proverbs 10:25

Right now millions of Christians face persecution because of their faith in Christ. Register to receive the Open Doors USA Weekly Prayer Alert email. Join alongside thousands of others praying for our brothers and sisters worldwide to stand strong in the midst of their struggles. Also learn more about countries where the persecution of Christians is most severe by visiting the Open Doors website today.

 
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