A woman sits in a Sudanese jail cell in Africa. Life swells in her womb as death hangs over her head. Her crime? She does not follow the faith of her father nor adhere to the faith of her country. She has chosen to follow the God of the Bible. She married a Christian man and they are growing a Christian family. In Sudan. Where only 3% of the population are Christian. And where Sharia law trumps national and international law- and Sharia law calls for her execution.
She was given the chance to live, it must be pointed out. As long as she would recant. As long as she would claim the faith of her father and live as a Muslim woman. As long as she denied the Christ whom she loves. But she will not recant.
Oh that this was an isolated story that has never occurred before and will never happen again. But....there is nothing new under the sun.
There was another young woman who sat in a jail cell in Africa with her was her nursing baby. Beside her sat a young servant woman, with life swelling in her womb while death hung over her head.
Their crime? They did not follow the faith of their fathers. They did not participate in the worship of the emperor. They chose to follow the God of the Bible. They were there because of what they believed- Who they believed. And in the Roman empire that was a crime punishable by death.
These two women were also given the chance to recant their faith. To live. To go through life with their families- with their children. All they had to do was recant and turn their backs on the Christ whom they served.
Just as Meriam Ibrahim sits now in a jail in Sudan with a death sentence hanging over her head so did Perpetua and Felicity sit in a jail in Carthage, 1800 years ago. Meriam faces death by hanging while Perpetua and Felicity faced the prospect of wild animals in the coliseum.
There is nothing new under the sun.
And yet- such bravery and devotion to the Lord, while not new, is remarkable. It is extraordinary. It is humbling.
Perpetua and Felicity died in the arena having never denied the God they loved. Meriam sits in a jail today steadfastly refusing to deny the God she serves and believes.
There have been women through the centuries that have loved the Lord more than their own lives. And every story of every brave believer who willingly went through persecution rather than deny God challenge me to the depth of my soul.
Would I be able to do that? Would I love God more? Than anything? Than everything?
So I pray for Meriam and am humbled by her. Please pray for Meriam Ibrahim. And her husband. And her little boy. And the child she carries. Please sign a petition. May the Lord protect and uphold Meriam, my sister in the Lord.
And if the time ever comes when I have my life held ransom for my denial of the Lord- may I be steadfast to the God who steadfastly keeps me.
"Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You." Ps. 63:3
UPDATE: Meriam was released in July of 2014 and now lives with her husband and children in New Hampshire.