I woke up this morning to the strong smell of
coffee freedom. Freedom was all around me. A light rain fell outside but inside was dry, light and safe. As I stretched in bed with my eyes becoming accustomed to being open and my body slowly waking up, I realized the day was ahead of me and full of possibilities. I could choose to go back to sleep, or get up and write. I could choose to drink coffee or tea, black or with cream. I could choose English muffins, or cereal; eggs or not. I smelled freedom in all my activities and in all my choices from big to small.
Across oceans and country borders in the country of Iran is a man who is facing execution for his faith. Based on a ruling from the Iranian Supreme Court, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, a Christian, is accused of apostasy. He was given three opportunities to renounce his faith and would not do so, because for him “to live is Christ, and to die is gain”. Even as there is no freedom for him to express a faith in anything other than the state mandated religious system, he has chosen his faith above all. He wakes up to a smell of filth in a jail cell, not to the smell of freedom, yet he knows, far better than I, that true freedom comes in knowing God.
There is international pressure to release Pastor Nadarkhani. Outspoken condemnation of the Iranian government is being voiced by various governments and groups around the globe with the hope that the ruling will be changed. But even then, changed to what? To release and full freedom or to lifelong imprisonment that includes torture and mistreatment. So even as I experience my freedom today, my heart longs for this universal right to be extended to all people, my heart aches to see the release of Pastor Nadarkhani.
As I drink my coffee along with tasting my freedom, I choose to be aware and to pray for this man, his family, his children and his country.
- Evangelical Pastor Faces Imminent Execution in Iran By Joseph Perkins (trinityspeaks.wordpress.com)
- Working to Save the Life of a Christian Pastor in Iran