And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:59,60
According to Open Doors, approximately 100 million Christians across the earth are currently suffering religious persecution. In Nigeria alone, there were 700 deaths due to religious violence in the first six months of 2012. For more detail see here , here , here or here
There has never been a time in history when followers of Christ have suffered more persecution than they do in this day in which we live. All believers are called to live for Christ, some are also called to die for Him. Whatever you are called to do, do well.
This poem is dedicated to the persecuted Bride of Christ.
There was no shortage
Of lethal stones
The day they dragged their victim
To his untimely death
Each one strategically aimed
To inflict maximum effect
His face like an angel, they say,
Which are words we use
What cannot be explained
Carried in God’s own embrace,
Stephen finished well his race
There is still no shortage
Of lethal stones
So many treading Stephen’s path
Which is the path You chose
And multitudes since then have trod
He was the first, we are the last
Like sheep for the slaughter
Filling up Your afflictions
Dying in body and broken in heart
And who, apart from You, heard Stephen’s cries?
How many hear the echoes now
Of those who cry, and bleed, and die?
Are our ears stopped and our eyes blind?
That our brethren’s pain is so removed
From our closed and cloistered minds?
Is this not Your Body, Lord,
Of which we are a living part?
Or have we numbed and shut our hearts
Denying that their suffering is Yours
And dare we in our most honest hour
Perceive the lethal stones that wait
Who think that we are safe?
There is no shortage
Of lethal stones or lying tongues
Or bombs or knives or ready guns
But neither is there any lack
Of faithful witnesses to Your Name
Thousands on thousands of faith-filled Stephens
Passing now through history’s pages
Entering Your eager embrace
Angelic glory on every face
And in the end the stones will cease
But, written in the books of time
Their ageless witness still will shine
There are not enough stones
In all the earth
Or within hell’s dark recesses
To halt the march of witnesses
Or silence their unwelcome words
And if by some impossibility
Your witnesses could not be found
There will be no shortage
Of rocks and stones that will themselves arise
And raise their testimony loud
That though God offered up His Life
Men loved darkness more than Light
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 2 Cor. 1:5