"Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." 2 Timothy 3:12(ESV)
I remember my mother would tell me so many times how my grandfather had given up a high profile police job after accepting Jesus Christ as his saviour.
He was put into prison for six months after accepting Jesus and during his imprisonment he made a vow to preach for the rest of his life. Hflung areas by foot and later on bicycle to spread the word of God.
Nonetheless, my mother told me that he never complained of losing what he had before, rather he was thankful to God and served Him until he passed away. Every time I hear a testimony like that of my grandfather it depicts that the life with God is not easy, as the people around you who conflict with your faith will always create problems and persecute you in different ways, from mental to physical.
The persecution of the Christians in Pakistan varies in nature, ranging from blasphemy laws to the burning of villages to forced conversion and also hatred and prejudice which is experienced by the Christians in their every day lives.
On the other hand, there are Muslims who want to become Christian after hearing the word of God through different means. However, if anyone dares to do so, they not only become rejected in the society but are also banished from the family.
The family which they are born in refuses to accept them and rejects them eventually. They are no longer part of the world they used to be and are instead ushered into the world of tribulations and persecutions.
The scriptures give an account of a heavy price that a believer has to pay after accepting Jesus: "If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." John 15: 19(ESV)
A few days ago, my friend shared with me about the death of a young Muslim man, Rashid Mehmood who converted to Christianity in 2005. He belonged to an affluent and educated Muslim family and was himself a lawyer. After accepting Jesus Christ, he left his law practice and decided to dedicate his life to preach. Driven by the love of Christ, Mehmood started to preach despite the opposition from his family and relatives. He kept his mission to spread the word of God until 26 December 2013, when he was shot dead.
From his conversion to Christianity till his death, he steadfastly shared the word of God and even inspired the Christians with his faith. But what he started to do had earned him many enemies who disdained his act of preaching about the Jesus as the way of life and leaving Islam. Mehmood might not have known that what he was doing would take his life one day. Yet no fear could ever deter him from serving the word of God during his lifetime as he had the assurance after reading the scriptures that the life he had chosen was full of troubles and path laid with thistles.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8: 35-37(ESV)
Mehmood is not the only Muslim covert Christian who has borne such fate and a barbaric end to life. There are other accounts as well where the Muslims after converting to Christianity have had to live under cover, flee from the country, and been threatened or killed. It would be a rarity while living in Pakistan for any Muslim-convert Christian to proclaim it and then live afterwards. Ironically, it is a pride.
No matter how much rejection, hardships, persecution and even the loss of life the Christians those accepting Christ have to face, there is a promise and reward mentioned in the word of God that uplifts their courage in the hard times and the life after deaths.
"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." James 1:2 (ESV)