Hussein was a drug addict in Iran when he became a Christian. With his conversion everything changed. He cleaned up his life through the working of the Holy Spirit and became a leader in the underground church. He became friends with a young pastor and his wife who allowed him to accompany them in their visitation program. At the first house he visited with the Christian couple the young woman who answered the door began to weep as soon as she saw them. Inviting them inside she unfolded her story. Just a few hours before she had a dream in which she saw Jesus (this is becoming more and more common in Islamic lands) and then she saw these exact three people who were now sitting in her front room coming to her house to tell her about Him.

Hussein went on to become a pastor and serve in the Iranian church. He told friends that the encounter he had that day with the woman was what convinced him of God’s leading in his life. He had seen clearly God’s love and was convicted that God was in control in spite of all the problems he faced for his Christian faith. Eventually he was arrested and imprisoned but his faith never waivered because he had put all his trust in Christ.

Raymond Edman the former president of Wheaton College encouraged his students to remember, “Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.” In the book Extreme Devotion put out by Voice of the Martyr is the statement, “Sometimes God makes His will so plain it’s as if he’s written it on the sky with a neon marker. Other times, we “see through a glass darkly” as Paul wrote to the Corinthian church.”

It is amazing how many times we second guess ourselves or begin to doubt God’s leading in our lives when we face the darkness. How easy it becomes to forget the way God has led in our past when confronted with obstacles.

By now most of us probably know that the young Christian woman in the Sudan whose story has been in the news lately has lost her second trial and is now sentenced to be hung. It is easy to forget the leading of God in the sunlight when faced with the loneliness of the dark but this 27 year-old woman should be an inspiration for each of us. Each time, when brought before the court, Mariem Ibrahim has calmly reconfirmed her Christian faith in spite of the horrendous consequences for her beliefs. She is also condemned to receive 100 lashes. Conditions within the prison are harsh and she is under constant attack from Muslim women as well as being abused by the prison guards.

We, as a world Christian community, are confronted with darkness through the experiences of Mariem Ibrahim, the 300 school girls still held captive in Nigeria and men and women like Hussein who rot away in Iranian prison cells. We live large in the sunlight of our own freedom and prosperity. But, where are we when our brothers and sisters suffer in the darkness?

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