We all remember the tragedy of Otto Warmbier. Who could ever forget that disturbing picture where two North Korean soldiers flanked him on either side? He looked dazed – even drugged – as he was arrested for crimes against the state. 17 months of incarceration later, he died of brain injuries sustained during his hellacious ordeal.
News stations all around the globe broadcast this injustice – and rightly so! What happened to him was unconscionable!
Mr. Warmbier’s treatment, however, is not at all uncommon in many countries of our world against Christians. We could cite reams full of persecution stories like those of Kyung-Ja, who had spent eight months between two labor camps. When she was released from the 1st, she weighed a cadaverous 63 lbs. Almost one-third of all Christians living in this one unnamed country, “reside” in one of its labor camps, some 30,000 Christians in all. Nearly 40% of these “criminals” die of starvation; all the rest lose up to one-half of their body weight, surviving on a not-so-steady diet of rats. Many are locked in cages – like animals – and forced to stand for hours between intermittent beatings until they vomit blood. The faint echoes of these suffering Christian brothers and sisters barely reach the ceilings of these prison hell-holes as they cry out to God: “How long must I suffer?” and “Why do You allow these barbarians to continue their monstrous ways?”
2700 years ago, Old Testament saints wrestled with these very same two heartaches. Why not come this Sunday to learn more about living amid persecution, for who knows what our future in America may hold?