Exodus 23-24
Matthew 20:1-16

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” 
—Hebrews 10:23, ESV 

We love to tell the story of good versus evil. We see it in movies, where good is oftentimes presented as hopelessly outmatched while evil grows. The plot gives the impression that evil is going to win because it is too powerful but in all of these stories, somehow, the hero of the story prevails and wins the day. Although the characters and locations may change, we never seem to grow tired of these stories.

The lives of Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh are like those stories. These ladies were from Iran and came to faith in Jesus Christ. They started distributing more than 20,000 Bibles in Tehran. When these ladies were caught, they were placed in Evin Prison, one of the most notorious prisons in the world. Many inmates were regularly beaten, tortured, abused and even killed. The ladies were asked before a judge to sign a statement renouncing their faith, but each time, they would refuse. The judge explained, “You do not understand. If you do not do this, you will die here.” The ladies responded, “No, you do not understand. We have been beaten with death before and that is not a problem. We are not afraid of death. What we are afraid of is a life without faith, without our Saviour Jesus Christ.” These ladies were given a choice: deny Jesus and live or choose not to and die—it is a dichotomy that strikes fear into the heart of most Christians and forces us to question our faithfulness to God.

If we are honest, some of us may equate God’s faithfulness with His provision of safety. If we do, this renders Jesus as kind of a blend between Superman and Santa Claus; a superhero that will sweep in and save the day wherever, whenever and however we need Him. However, in the moments when our prayers are not answered immediately or how we want, we question God’s faithfulness because we often link stories of victory and miraculous provision with God’s faithfulness, but have we made a horrible mistake in doing this?

For Maryam and Marziyeh, their story ends the way we like. Their case reached global media and pressure mounted for their release. In 2009, they were released after 259 days in prison. What defines this story is their trust in God’s faithfulness. Whether these ladies were released or killed, it would not have changed the truth of God’s faithfulness.

We do not get a life of safety as we follow Jesus. We get a Great Commission that involves suffering and hardships, but an assurance of eternity with Him. While our life story may not go the way we want, may we remember that, ultimately, God is always faithful.

Father God, thank You for Your faithfulness. No matter the circumstances that life brings me, help me to remain steadfast and faithful. Amen!

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