Sorry for the double posts today! I missed putting this up last week. Wonderful story from the persecuted church included here.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15
Though we have received a Spirit of Adoption, our humanity remains. Our Sonship—our adoption in Christ—frees us from the captivity of fear but not the experience of fear. In fact, only embracing those earthly experiences that expose our human limits will reveal the glorious power of our adoption. The victory of Sonship is choosing to reject the control of earthly concerns. The story of Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amizzadeh, two young women from Iran witnesses to the Spirit of adoption in a powerful way.
Both ladies understood the potential consequences of holding fast to Christ in Iran. Prior to their imprisonment in 2009, Maryam and Marzieh had discussed how they might feel or react if faced with imprisonment or execution. With regard to life imprisonment, Maryam said, “I just thought this was something we would have to bear.” Marzieh felt giving her life for the Lord would be a privilege. Though their faith was real, imprisonment was a test that would reveal the true preciousness of ‘adoption.’ Solitary confinement, harsh living conditions, debilitating illness and the worst—a roommate’s execution—produced a terror beyond theoretical discussion. Marzieh’s words help us feel a bit of their experience:
“Before prison we talked about execution but when we got to prison and experienced the fear of it, our way of talk changed. We never imagined we would be so frightened. We were…paralyzed with fear. We could see it in each other’s faces. We prayed and what calmed us was the presence of God and the peace He gave us…it is easy to say that I gave my life for the Lord…But human fears gripped us. The power the Lord gave us helped us to overcome these fears.”
The freedom from fear’s paralyzing captivity was a powerful revelation of Sonship in Maryam and Marzieh’s life. It can be in ours as well. Deliberating choosing faith—and refusing fear’s captivity—is not just for the imprisoned and persecuted. In our world, fear often goes unrecognized because it is deceitful. Fear’s companions are more easily identified: striving, planning, conniving—a determination to get one’s own way at all costs. Fear drives us to do things to avoid a consequence, to avenge our honor or gain some desired profit. Sonship reigns victorious when faith in our good God controls our actions instead. When a Christian restrains a defensive angry retort and offers blessing for an unkind act, God is glorified. When a contractor refuses to pad a bill going to the insurance company and insists upon integrity, God is glorified. Our Spirit of adoption can be revealed countless ways every day. May we remember Maryam and Marzieh’s example and trust that the power of God will help us overcome!
If you would like to know more of Maryam and Marzieh’s story, visit www.elam.com.