Lenten Devotional : Week 3

"...do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in as much as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed."

1 Peter 4:12-16

The apostle Peter informs believers not to be surprised by the fiery trials they may encounter. Instead, he urges them to rejoice in their participation in Christ's sufferings. Suffering for righteousness' sake is an honor. As we endure trials with faith and perseverance, we are refined and strengthened in our character, deepening our trust in God and shaping us into the likeness of Christ.

Today, we share the story of brave Pastor Jagan (name changed) and his church members from Tamil Nadu, who exemplify this enduring spirit in the face of adversity. Despite being falsely accused and subjected to immense torture, Pastor Jagan did not waver in his commitment to Christ.

In February 2020, Pastor Jagan and eight other Christians were distributing gospel tracts in a village. A group of extremists started accusing the Christians of forced conversion. Subsequently, they were taken to the local police station, where Pastor Jagan was brutally beaten and slapped on both his ears repeatedly, resulting in hearing problems that persist to this day. Additionally, he was subjected to violent beating with a lathi (bamboo stick used as a club) and punches to his back, accompanied by verbal abuse.

Pastor Jagan's church members, along with ADF India allies, gathered at the police station and secured the pastor’s release. He was rushed to a hospital, where he remained admitted for about eight days due to his injuries.

ADF India allied lawyers secured anticipatory bail for the pastor in March 2020, enabling his return to his hometown.

"In my darkest hours, ADF India stood steadfastly by my side. I felt the embrace of God's love in every action they took to assist me and my companions when we were targeted for our faith. I am assured of God's presence with me, and I boldly carry on with my ministry, free from fear," expressed Pastor Jagan.
1. Explore the concept of rejoicing in suffering and how it leads to spiritual growth and maturity.

2. Reflect on the role of supportive communities in sustaining faith during times of trial and persecution.
Heavenly Father, we lift Pastor Jagan and all those who are persecuted in your name. Strengthen their hearts, grant them courage, and surround them with your protective love. May we, too, be emboldened to share your message of salvation with unwavering faith, trusting in your promise of eternal glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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