I sat in church this morning with one of my best friends and her daughter. It was a great feeling, having my friend visit my church and meet my church family. I sat, feeling blessed….to have good friends, a loving family, a faith in God that makes my heart warm, a good job, a roof over my head. Like the majority of Americans, I truly need for nothing.
Today’s sermon was about the book of Daniel, specifically Chapter 6, the classic story of Daniel in the lion’s den. King Darius made a decree that no one shall worship anyone but him for 30 days. Daniel continued to pray to God three times a day. Because Daniel would not cease his faith and worship Darius, he was sentenced to spend the night in a den of lions, which would result in his death. Because of his strong faith in God; the lions’ mouths were closed and did not kill Daniel. Daniel was free to go the next morning. A great moral story…you love God and God will do good to you.
Sitting through this sermon, I couldn’t help but think of Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag. Yeah, I didn’t know her actual name until today either, when I looked it up. She lives in Sudan. She was born to a Muslim father. She grew up, married a Christian man, and converted to Christianity. Right now she is eight months pregnant, in jail with her 20-month-old child, and is sentenced to death for apostasy. She was also sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery, as she is married outside the Muslim faith.
During court proceedings, the judge gave her four days to sit and think about being a Christian. She had four days to denounce Christianity, four days to save her life and the life of her unborn child. After the four days, she boldly declared in court, “I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy.” She is sentenced to hang until death. Humanitarian organizations around the world are in outrage and are trying to help. The date of execution is still unknown.
It all makes me think, do I have a strong enough faith not to repent? I want a child more than anything but am unable to conceive. Knowing that my only chance of a baby is growing inside of me, would I be able to stand there and say I am a Christian and accept my death sentence? Honestly, I don’t know. I thank my lucky stars that I live in a country where I don’t have to make that choice.
Why is this story important? I don’t live in Sudan. I don’t have Muslim roots. Heck, I became a Christian only a few years ago. Think about our amazing country, land of the free and home of the brave. We have all these rights and privileges, but they are slowly disappearing. It’s just a camera on the stoplight. I don’t run red lights, no bother to me. Health insurance for everyone is good. I already have insurance so I’m not really being forced into it. Its good to help your fellow man so redistribution of wealth is good even though I worked really hard for that income and you have been on unemployment for three years. The NSA is only watching the bad people. I’m good….right? RIGHT?
Bit by bit, faith in this country is diminishing. We are losing our faith in our government. We are losing our faith in our politicians. We are losing faith in our media. We are losing faith in each other. It is time to stand up and say I believe. I believe in this country. I believe in our government. I believe in my fellow man. But with our new declaration of faith, we the people need to hold our government to higher standards. We need to expect our politicians to be better people, and get them out of office if they are not. We need to insist the media report facts, not merely look for higher ratings, not being liberal or conservative. We need to insist on better behavior from each other. No, I will not call you names just because you disagree with me. I will respect you and help you if you need it, but to get respect you have to give it as well. I will renew my faith in my country, my fellow man, my family and most importantly, I will not be afraid to say that I am a Christian.