Voice of the Martyr reports:
[China Aid Association] CAA has received reports of intensified religious persecution in Beijing, Heilongjiang, Yunnan and Shangdong provinces. In Beijing, Pastor “Bike” Zhang Mingxuan and his family members have been evicted from their home, beaten and arrested. In Heliongjiang province, one city called Yichun recently banned all house churches, CAA reported. In Yunnan province, some house church members were attacked right after the Olympics. In Shandong province, Pastor Zhang Zhongxin was sentenced to two years of re-education through labor, and after the Olympics his appeal was denied, according to CAA.
Meanwhile, CAA has learned that 29 house church leaders have been serving time in labor camps and prisons in Henan province since July 2007. They are accused of being “evil cult” members. One leader was sentenced to seven years imprisonment, which is the harshest sentence against a house church leader in recent years, besides Pastor Zhang Rongliang, who was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in 2004, for allegedly “attempting to illegally cross the border and forgery of an official document,” CAA added. VOM Report on China.
On Nov. 12, two sisters were killed and their mother wounded by a gang of Islamic extremists in the Al Qahira section of Mosul, Iraq, according to [Voice of the Martyrs] VOM contacts. The gunmen shot one of the sisters as she was waiting for a bus outside their home. They then stormed into the home, killed the other sister and injured their mother. A bomb placed by the assailants at the entrance of the house detonated as police arrived on the scene, injuring several officers.
This incident is the latest in a series of attacks on Christians that have occurred in Mosul, in recent weeks. Since October, more than seven Christians have been killed and more than 200 families displaced. The Christian community in Iraq is estimated to be 3 percent of Iraq’s 26 million people, or about 800,000. Some Christians believe they are being targeted in an effort to wipe out the Christian community’s economic activity and drive believers from the area. Since 2003, Christian leaders, churches and businesses in Iraq have been targeted by Islamic extremists. As a result, many believers have fled. VOM report on Iraq.
If God is a loving God, then why does he allow suffering? If God is omnipotent, then why does God not stop all the pain and suffering? Is God still sovereign even with all the pain that goes on? Does all suffering happen as a result of human wrongdoing? No but it happens even if there is no fault on anyone’s part. If so, then do we just accept it? Is it just a fact of life, a dimension of our lives here on earth? Is there a connection, or is there no connection between suffering and human wrong-doing?And is there an explanation? Atheists would say there is no God. Christian scientists would say that suffering is unreal because it is merely a way of thinking. Or is God just a malevolent God who is let loose and Satan just roams the world and has a free reign to wreak havoc? Does God enjoy seeing us humans suffer here on earth?
Despite the pain and suffering, I believe that the heart of God would also suffer along with us in our pain. If God is suppose to be God, then who are we to judge what is just and unjust? Our human temptation is to judge and be a judge, like in the Garden of Eden. We want to be like a god. Okay, so Christ died at the cross and suffered on our behalf. Then Christ knows our suffering and pain, our injustices and wrongs done against us. Then how can this hurt us? If Christ is omnipresent with us in the midst of all our pain and suffering, then can suffering hurt us? If Christ is for us, then who can be against us? Christ will give us the strength to carry our cross.