The day ISIS got a little closer to home


Yesterday, we received an email from a member of our home school co-op asking for prayer for family members who are Christian workers in Northern Iraq. Their community has been lost to ISIS, and the UN’s peace-keeping forces have pulled out. These workers and the local believers are on their own, forced to choose between renouncing Christ or holding fast as children are murdered in front of them.

For weeks now, I’ve been reading of the ongoing struggles of our brothers and sisters in Syria and Iraq, and more or less quietly praying for ISIS to be stopped and for the resiliency of fellow believers there. But even then, it’s been at a distance.

This email brought this suffering a little closer to home.

We often fail to realize how closely connected we all are. We look at the world we live in—specifically our North American context—and assume the way we live is “normal.” The persecution of Christians in Iraq and Syria is a powerful wake-up call for us, if for no other reason than it reminds us that persecution is actually normal for Christians. It’s not something we read about in our Bible and think, “Gosh, I’m glad things are so much better now.” For many believers in over 100 nations, that’s life: beatings, wrongful imprisonment, verbal abuse, and martyrdom.

But because of the uniqueness of the West, we’re sheltered from these realities. Most of us don’t know anyone who has directly been persecuted. But we are probably only one or two degrees of separation from someone who has. And that should change the way we pay attention to such things. It’s closer to us than we realize. So we should care that the US has launched airstrikes against ISIS. We should want to pray for persecuted believers. And I know this is a novel concept, but we should actually pray, believing that God will be glorified in this.

Posted by Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the author of several books for adults and children, as well as multiple documentaries and Bible studies. His latest book, I'm a Christian—Now What?: A Guide to Your New Life with Christ is available now.

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3 Replies to “The day ISIS got a little closer to home”

  1. My daughter sent me an email from her church weeks ago regarding prayer for a Christian Relief organization that was smuggling in food for the refugees saying ISIS was just an hour away and had already turned back the Kurds. There was also a missionary there who was due to come home in a month. The Priest was requesting prayer as little children were systematically being beheaded. It is true, and it is just getting more and more gruesome.

  2. The More You Know September 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Islamic State is bad, but the email isn’t entirely true – it was sent by British aid worker by text a month ago, in the heat of the moment he got some facts wrong, and children are not being beheaded as far as we know.

    Still, pray:
    – local leaders would rise against Islamic State
    – God would turn the hearts of the fighters
    – Ask to see what lies beyond, in the future, after Islamic State so you can pray for what God wants to do (not just against what the enemy wants to do)

    There are believers in the region, there is work ongoing in Kurdistan, and there is hope for the millions in I.S. areas.

    1. There are actual pictures of children that were beheaded. I took some time to look into a lot of this. If you do the research, the facts and photos are out there. They DID behead children. Along with the men and women. We definitely need to pray.

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