If you’ve been keeping an eye on the news, you’ve probably heard about Saeed Abedeni. He’s an Iranian-American pastor, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity.
In 2012, Saeed went to Iran, a trip he’d made nearly a dozen times before. He was there to visit family and work on a government-approved orphanage for Muslim children. Instead, he was arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and charged with “threatening Iran’s national security.”
In government-speak, that means they considered his Christian faith dangerous. His captors have told him, “You’ve corrupted a whole generation of young people and no matter what we do, they won’t turn back to Islam.”
He has remained jailed ever since.
But even as his wife and family work tirelessly for Saeed’s release, God’s truth continues to shine brightly through the darkness and suffering Saeed has endured. It’s like watching the biblical stories we’re all so familiar with come to life.
Like the Apostle Paul, Saeed has led others to Christ inside the very prison where he has been detained. In fact, officials were so concerned about his influence on the other prisoners, they exiled him to one of the nation’s most notoriously brutal prisons. Here, they believed, if Saeed’s fellow inmates discovered he had converted from Islam, he would be killed. Under no scenario would he feel free to speak the name of Jesus in that ward.
But after his arrival, some of the most violent prisoners there began having dreams about Jesus. They came to Saeed and asked him, “Can you tell us about Jesus?” Not only did the men accept Christ, they became Saeed’s guards and protectors.
The power of God unfolding around Saeed shouldn’t surprise us, but it does.
How easily we forget who God is and His ability to transform a human heart. We hear of unspeakable atrocities committed by groups like ISIS, and we slip into doubt. Surely they are beyond the reach of God’s grace.
But as I hear Saeed’s story, I am humbled and brought to my knees all over again. God’s power is still as awesome and limitless today as it was before the world was even created. Nobody is beyond the reach of God.
But as we marvel at what God is doing, we can’t lose sight of what Pastor Saeed is enduring.
His captors have tried to force him to deny Christ. He has suffered repeated beatings and torture that have left him with internal bleeding and fighting for his life. According to family, he is covered with lice and is gravely ill. He needs our prayers.
Saeed Abedini’s incarceration has garnered worldwide attention. But it may have gone unnoticed had it not been for his wife, Naghmeh. She has worked tirelessly to draw attention to her husband’s plight, bending the ear of every major news outlet, the United States Congress, the United Nations, and President Obama.
Today, we are pleased to have Naghmeh on our program, “Trusting God in the Midst of Persecution.” I encourage you to join us to hear the full story of Naghmeh and Saeed’s miraculous conversion to Christ and the continuing saga of her husband Saeed’s incarceration in Iran.