Dear Friends, since we recently published Distant Front, Book Two of The COIL Legacy, persecution overseas has been on my mind quite a bit. I wrote the following story of persecution after reading some reports released about how the Christian Church continues to grow under the very persecution that intends to silence the mouths of believers.
In the first chapter of First Peter, the apostle encourages persecuted Christians to endure by looking forward to Christ’s coming and the hope of eternal salvation as their inspiration. Let Christ’s coming be our inspiration and hope as well, to endure in this fallen world!—David Telbat.
“Jesus is Coming Soon!”
A Short Story of Persecution and Endurance
by D.I. Telbat
“Jesus is coming soon!”
The words screamed in English woke Albert Books in his cold, Iranian prison cell. He sat up and nodded in the dim lighting at his four cellmates. They were already awake, listening to the night screams of the prisoner being tortured for Christ.
“It’s one of ours,” Laban whispered in Persian, referring to the screamer down the corridor. Laban was a pastor from Yazd, a city in central Iran.
“I’ve heard.” Albert closed his eyes. “God, keep him strong . . .”
“Jesus is coming soon!” the words grated down the corridor again and again.
Albert bowed his head with his cellmates. They wouldn’t stop praying until the screams stopped, which might not be until dawn.
“Jesus is coming soon!”
The screams left Albert gasping and pleading for endurance for the brother in so much pain. But there was a sense of joy in the moment as well. Albert had taught those four words to every Christian who came into contact with him inside the notorious prison: “Jesus is coming soon!” That way, as they cried out during torture sessions, their Persian-speaking tormentors were confounded. And Christ’s coming was being proclaimed as loudly as the persecuted could proclaim it.
Even though other prisoners didn’t understand exactly what they were saying, they knew they were defying the anti-Christian sentiment in the prison, and were boasting in Jesus Christ in some fashion.
Near morning, the screams stopped. Albert rose to his feet and went to the metal door to look out the small four-by-four-inch hole to see who would return from “the room,” and who would take the next turn.
A man named Shiraz limped into view. He paused and looked to his right at Albert.
“Christ is coming soon,” Shiraz said with a twinkle in his eye.
“Christ is coming soon,” Albert responded.
Blood leaked from Brother Shiraz’s ear as he continued down the corridor to his cell.
Albert watched the man disappear from sight. He recalled the day he’d met Brother Shiraz, just weeks after Albert had been arrested for sharing Christ on the streets of Tehran. It had been Albert’s third arrest, so even as a foreigner, he had disappeared for “treatment.”
That had been four years ago, around the time Albert had begun to spread the prison’s most popular words: “Jesus is coming soon!” Of course, it wasn’t just the English words that comforted Albert through his own appointments in the torture room. The words were prophetic, and that gave him strength to endure for Christ. After all, Jesus was indeed coming soon! Even if Albert were to die in the prison, there were certain truths that couldn’t be tortured out of him. He just wanted to finish well for Jesus Christ.
Read several stories about persecution in Iran on this Open Doors web page. Pray for those suffering for their faith in Iran.
Praise the Lord for the release of VOM staff member Petr Jasek from a Sudanese prison! Read his encouraging testimony of God’s grace and mercy.
Note: Our website address has changed. To serve you better, we have converted our website to an even more secure site. Our new address is https://ditelbat.com. (The only change is the S added to http.) But you can still get to us fine with just using ditelbat.com.
COMING UP: Join us next time for David Telbat’s Author Reflection, “Deaf but Devoted,” when he introduces us to fellow believer, Josh. Thanks for reading!