Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pastor Saeed

I am sitting on my living room couch tonight, sipping a glass of wine. My kids are all tucked in bed and the last calls of "goodnight, mommy!" have ceased.

Joe is snuggled on the sectional next to me "watching TV", AKA: sleeping.

The dog is snoring at my feet and the food network is on on the background.

And my heart is absolutely heavy tonight.

By all counts, I should be enjoying life. I should be relaxing.

I live in a beautiful home. My husband is by far the most amazing man I know. My kids are precious and the absolute delight of my life. I am warm, dry, and fed.

But I can't stop thinking about Pastor Saeed.

If you're not familiar, he's an American Christian pastor who is imprisoned in Iran. His crime: he was building orphanages and preaching about Christ.

So, now he's in prison and being beaten regularly.

He has internal bleeding and he's being refused medical treatment, including receiving the medications he desperately needs, as well as pain medicine.

Because he is "unclean".

He is a Christian and that makes him "unclean" in their religion.

And as I sat here in my cozy, beautiful home, watching cable TV on my 50 inch plasma screen, I read a letter Saeed wrote to his family while in that prison. While his every breath and movement causes him excruciating pain.

He scratched this letter in the margin of a torn newspaper page and then gave to his family when they came to visit.

The letter can be found by clicking HERE. PLEASE--GO READ IT.

As I was reading through tears the words he wrote about forgiveness and love, hate was boiling inside me. Anger, resentment, loathing.

All the things he cautioned against feeling.

And as much as I want to rail-- I want to break things and scream-- I can't because Pastor Saeed is absolutely right.

If I let that anger and hate take control, Satan wins.

And that can't happen.

It's not lost on me how very much Pastor Saeed's situation parallels Paul's.

Paul spent most of his ministry in prisons for preaching Christ. He was also beaten and left to die on many occasions.

But he continued to praise the Lord.

There's a song by Ray Boltz that never fails to move me. I encourage you to watch the video and read along with the words. The video is a little cheesy maybe, but the message is so beautiful.

And I think about all the things I am doing every day that I take for granted.

I lose my patience when my kids call my name too many times.

Pastor Saeed would give anything to hear his children's laughter and hear them call out "Daddy!"

I am annoyed that Joe has fallen asleep again while we're supposed to be spending time together.

Pastor Saeed sent his love to his wife on a wrinkled piece of newsprint, across continents, probably aware he will never see her, feel her, or hear her voice say she loves him again.

I feel frustrated as I look around at the mess of toys the kids left in their wake today.

Pastor Saeed is gripped with pain while listening to sewer rats in his room.

And it all just seems absolutely unfair.

A horrible tragedy.

A farce.

This man was building orphanages.

He was preaching the love of Christ to others.

And now he is being tortured.

His wife probably replays a million times in her head the day they said goodbye. They thought it would be for a few weeks. Little did they know that he probably will die in that cell.

I wonder if she wishes the embrace would have lasted longer, her hand on his face a moment more, and her lips on his a beat longer.

How many nightmares does she wake from calling out his name?

How many times has she pleaded with God to save him? To let her take his place? To let them see him if only one more time?

He thought his ministry was in building orphanages, but perhaps his true ministry is in the way he is handling this persecution. The way he is showing unshakable love to his captors, even after they beat him. The way he spent hours speaking to a fellow captive about the love of Christ and how he had to let his anger and hatred go.

I don't think I could do what he is doing and handle it with such unimaginable grace, dignity, and most importantly, love.

His mercy is astounding.

God can do anything.

He can knock down the walls of that prison and bring Pastor Saeed home.

But I don't know that He will.

Perhaps Pastor Saeed's ministry didn't truly begin until he set foot in that prison and the first blow made contact with his face.

And I think, "God use me!"

But could I do it? Could I be a martyr?

God bless Pastor Saeed.

Please don't click away from this post without signing the petition to have Pastor Saeed released.

I pray he is released and that he gets to look upon the faces of his wife, the love of his life, and his babies and tell them he loves them at least one more time.

I pray he gets to hear his children tell them they love him.

I pray his children get to see him and snuggle into his arms again.

I pray that his valiant attitude and perseverance are rewarded this side of Heaven as well as after he dies.

And I pray for a heart that loves Jesus as much as Saeed's so obviously does.

Feel free to share this post. Not for any glory for me, but to get awareness out. Implore our government to take a stand for this man.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with his religion, he is an American citizen being beaten and tortured in another country as well as refused medical treatment. It's time we took a stand.

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