Amidst the loud cracks and zips of fireworks, and the laughter of free fellowship…I hear something else. Many people can’t hear it. Most would muffle it intentionally.
It’s the sound of Poonam, a Christian woman in India, weeping outside the front gate of her home. Her husband has cast her out for converting to Christianity from Hinduism. She cries out for her three little children and for her copy of God’s Word, all of which have been taken from her.
It’s the sound of Adamu, a Nigerian evangelist, crying out in pain as his family dresses his wounds. He has survived a severe beating after rescuing a new convert from her oppressive Muslim family.
It’s the sound of Jin, a pastor in China, pacing the floor under house arrest as his church prays for him. The church, as of May 30 of this year, has been shut down for making God the center of their fellowship rather than the Communist Party.
It’s the sound of Helen, an Eritrean worship leader, stirring out of a nightmare as memories of her persecution continue to plague her dreams. She was imprisoned for her faith for two years in Eritrea, several months of which she lived isolated in a metal shipping container in the heat of summer.
These deafening, terrible sounds seemed to have been halted on every side of the United States of America’s borders. We do not hear the cries of our friends to the South. We do not see the tears of the brothers and sisters to the North. We cannot feel the broken bones of them to the East. We cannot smell the stench of the dead believers to the West.
We cannot, because we choose not to.
We dare not shame our suffering brothers and sisters around the world by taking our freedom for granted. We can celebrate this gift of freedom, not only as patriots, but as born-again, unchained, outspoken lovers of Christ. Furthermore, we can use our freedom to amplify the sounds of the thousands of martyrs that have come before us and the thousands of believers that suffer in foreign lands today.
In living a life that depreciates and neglects the lives of our suffering brothers and sisters around the world, we reap for ourselves a time of regret and anguish on that day of judgement. In living this self-consumed life, we cast judgement on those martyrs and persecuted, deeming them unworthy of our time or effort. “Why do you judge your brothers and sisters? Why do you treat them with contempt? For we will stand before God’s judgement seat… each of us will give an account of ourselves to God” (Rom. 14:10-12).
I long to grip the shoulders of the American church and shake us from our sleep. We must awaken to the reality of our freedom and the lack of the global Church’s freedom. What better day to do so than on our Day of Independence?
Will you think of the blood-bought, chain-bound believers of the global Church (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)?
Let us truly rejoice in our freedom!
“However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 2:10)
Meet the Author!
Hannah Hanzel is an opinionated, passionate gal that loves sharing what God is doing in her often busy and complicated life. She strives to show God's glory in working as the Art Director for the Baptist Messenger, serving as a multi-client freelance graphic designer, and communing with CRBC. When she's not working, you can find her sipping coffee in a hammock, watching classic '40s movies, or going on an adventure with friends or family.