Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Pastor "Abandoned" By Obama Administration
For the past 2 years her husband has been suffering in one of the world's cruelest prisons because he is a Christian.
The pastor in prison and his wife and family waiting for his release have not wavered in their faith in God.
The pastor's wife, Neghmeh Abedini, is sharing which Bible verses have meant most to her during this time of intense trial, what her husband Saeed has been doing in his cell these past 2 years, how she feels the Obama administration has abandoned him and how very important religious freedom really is, and what we must do to insure freedom for our children and our children's children.
I found her thoughts and reflections inspiring and challenging. I think you will too.
For the past 2 years Christians have been praying for the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen, who is being held in prison in Iran, charged with being a Christian.
His wife and children have been waiting, praying, and always hoping for his release---missing him greatly in his absence.
This past weekend, Naghmeh shared some of her personal thoughts and insights about the matter.
She said one of the most important Bible verses to her during this time is II Corinthians 12:8-10, where Paul is talking about a thorn in his side and wants it removed.
She feels God has been assuring her that His grace is sufficient for her and His strength is made perfect in weakness.
The following verse, she says, has also spoken to her: "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities and distress and persecution and need"---knowing this is all being used for the gospel "makes it really comforting."
Many wonder what happens on a day to day basis in Saeed's cell.
She says, "He has not denied his faith under intense persecution and torture, particularly early on in his imprisonment."
She says, "He has remained who he is."
And "who he is" she says "is a person who shares the hope and life found in Jesus Christ."
It has been reported that Saeed has led several fellow prisoners to a personal relationship with Christ.
She also said many people feel the Obama administration could be doing more to bring her husband home.
When asked if she agrees, she said, "I agree. It's been frustrating."
She appreciates the president's mention of Saeed at the National Day of Prayer Breakfast, but wonders if his statements are made only to appease her and the American people who are so concerned.
She says, "Deep down I don't think there has been a decision made to bring him home because I do believe if that decision had been made, he would be home right now."
She also says this experience has changed her.
"When you're going through trials, you reach a point of desperation," she explains, "and the trials can be here in America."
"Maybe we have fears of the future, how's my life going to look, what is my future going to look like. Fears of finances, of course a lot of families going through divorce and trauma, different things, relationship issues,"--- "and this," she says, "can take us into a greater intimacy with God."
She says although she has been a Christian for over 30 years, this experience has given her a greater sense of being "connected to the vine" (John 15).
In times like these she says, "You either discover your faith is empty and you walk away, or you have to discover God and the reality of Him."
Neghmeh has also rediscovered and become acutely aware of the importance of religious freedom. She says, "It is a core value."
She observes, "Saeed is an American citizen whose religious freedom is trampled upon and we've allowed Iran to do that for the past 2 years."
She warns us all, "If we don't speak out, if we're not vocal about it, if we're not taking action to defend our religious freedom, it will be taken from us."
She recalls, "When I was a child, I came to America and discovered Christ---that's the most beautiful part of America for me---I had the freedom to choose my religion."
In reflecting on her experience and deep love for freedom, she says, "If we don't fight for it, it's something we will lose. It's not a guarantee our children will enjoy the same freedom we're enjoying---or our children's children."
Neghmeh may be a first generation immigrant but the words of former U.S. Presidents have not been lost to her.
President Reagan said, "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
President Lincoln said, "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves."
President Eisenhower said, "Freedom has its life in our hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed---else like a flower cut from its life giving roots, it will wither and die."
President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved."
President Reagan also said, "The American dream is not that every man must be level with every man. The American dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become."
I hope their words will not be lost to us who have likely never known anything less than the God given freedom we have had here in America.
Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful. Be Pro-Active. Be Blessed.