Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (1 Peter 4:12-14)
Recently the world stopped for a moment after seeing a photo of 21 Coptic Christians being executed by ISIS on the shores of Tripoli.
The Bible Society of Egypt had a different take on this photo. See if you agree.
Two rows of men walked the shore of the sea,
On a day when the world’s tears would run free,
One a row of assassins, who thought they did right,
The other of innocents, true sons of the light,
One holding knives in hands held high,
The other with hands empty, defenseless and tied,
One row of slits to conceal glaring-dead eyes,
The other with living eyes raised to the skies,
One row stood steady, pall-bearers of death,
The other knelt ready, welcoming heaven’s breath,
One row spewed wretched, contemptible threats,
The other spread God-given peace and rest.
Who fears the other?
The row in orange, watching paradise open?
Or the row in black, with minds evil and broken?
The objective for creating this tract (shown at right), according to Ramez Atallah who is General Director of the Society, was, “To comfort the mourning and challenge people to commit to Christ,” without offending any Egyptian.
The Society published and distributed 1.65 million copies of the tract. It’s a testament to their faith and evidence of how openly Christian material circulates in today’s Egypt.
More good news.
Christianity Today reports that earlier this year, among the hundreds of booths at the 46th Cairo International Book Fair, one was staffed by the Spiritual Service for Publishing (SSP) — part of Campus Crusade for Christ International. By the end of the fair, more than 7,000 copies of the Injeel (Gospel) were sold along with more than 17,000 copies a DVD about Jesus, which were distributed for free.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)