“Daddy, Why Do People Throw Stones at Us?”
Five-year-old Hassan heard the whirling rock before he saw it. And he didn’t have time to cover his head. Thankfully he didn’t need to. The thrower had moved too quickly to maintain his anonymity, and his aim was off balance. The rock harmlessly careened into a nearby building with a dull thud.
But for Hassan in North Africa, it didn’t matter. The mere attempt hurt him just as bad. And the intended damage had been done…
The fight for our children
Raising a child, today, is already difficult.
Even before our children are able to talk, we’re fighting against messages taking root in their minds to define their identity. Media is bent on shaping our boys and girls—and telling them who they are.
As parents, we want to do everything we can to fight back. Armed with the Word of God, we share God’s vision for His people through the Scriptures with our children. And we pray His Word would shelter them, wash over them and cleanse them from the stains of fallen humanity.
And we don’t want our children to hurt. We will do everything we can to remove them from the potential of pain.
But just imagine the lives of Christian parents in areas hostile to the gospel, and the fight they face to protect their children from intense persecution…
Persecution through a child’s eyes
When we share stories of persecution, there’s a tendency to gloss over the stories of children, like Hassan, when they don’t bear the marks of religious violence on their bodies.
But they do suffer. For many, it’s under the surface with wounds you can’t see. And we forget to wonder what persecution must feel like, and how it looks through a child’s eyes.
On some level, we can explain the ideological madness behind ISIS, an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria and other terror organizations. We can share how this madness leads to tension. And, ultimately, results in unfathomable violence.
But for a child—it’s not so easy…
They can’t see the broader political context of caliphate or the tactics of jihad. They don’t understand the theological fuel igniting anger against them. Children like Hassan only know they’re hated because they’re different. And they’re different because they follow Jesus.
Before the eyes of their parents, their child-like innocence slowly crumbles.
“The people in our town don’t accept those who are different”
Hassan’s father, after he realized they were in danger, pulled Hassan tighter and quickly headed home.
Taking many turns and detours, he did everything he could to avoid any followers on their trail.
“Are we going home,” Hassan asks. “Yes, son.” his father replies. “We must. For your protection.”
Hassan couldn’t hide his disappointment. This wasn’t the first incident. But Hassan always thought it would be better. He dreamed of the day when his father could relax. When they could go out for ice cream without wondering if they’d been exposed.
As Hassan and his father entered their home, Hassan asks, “Daddy, why do people throw stones at us? Why don’t the people like us, what have we done wrong?”
His father smiles painfully as he responds, “Hassan, we are different because we follow Jesus. The people in our town have another religion, they don’t accept those who are different.”
Hassan knew God had called his parents. They spoke to him often of their faith and love for Jesus. And their devotion compelled them to pray with Hassan, asking God’s forgiveness and glorious presence to transform the hearts of those who wanted to do them harm.
But it still hurt. And Hassan’s parents, in the midst of such cruelty towards their son and their family, struggle with balancing between protecting their son, and giving God the opportunity to show Hassan he can always trust Him. Because they know the day is coming.
It takes more than a village…it takes a body, His Body
Hassan is just one example why we must come together to support our persecuted brothers and sisters.
Hassan’s mother cries, “Why don’t they let us in peace, why does Hassan have to suffer from all this?” And she knows, the future will only hold more difficulty. Hassan will soon enter school. He’ll be forced to learn Islamic teaching. And eventually, he’ll have to make his own choice to enter the narrow gate and answer God’s call on his life.
And living under circumstances of extreme persecution and isolation from other believers, his parents fear he may break. Or Hassan will choose the path of least resistance…
Hassan’s father shares, “Knowing God has called us helps me a lot. Sometimes we are afraid, but we want to remember and teach our son that Jesus is always with us.”
This is about more than just strengthening Hassan’s parents. It’s about empowering parents in areas where faith costs the most to raise their children who love Jesus and helping to build the future of the church. And it takes more than a village. It’ll take the entire body—His body, the entire Body of Christ rising up, together, in prayer.
Because these children are forced to count the cost of following Christ with every breath they take. And we have to believe God will honor our prayers and prepare each of them to see the Kingdom, and our King, as worthy of their suffering.
Will you commit to pray the prayers below with us for the children of the persecuted church? And will you also share with your friends?
Here’s how you can pray
Please ask God to:
- Touch Hassan’s heart—heal his hurt and his pain and show him His glorious beauty of being called a child of the King.
- Come near to the children of the persecuted church, and reveal Himself in a personal way—that they would know the power of His name…a strong tower where they can run for safety.
- Give the parents of persecuted children a spirit of wisdom and revelation to empower them to share the love and grace of Christ with their children.
- Glorify His name among the nations—building the future of His church and His people for His purpose of drawing all people to Himself.
Nick passionately supports the persecuted church by leveraging his God-given gifts to share their stories with the goal of making the reality of persecution unavoidable for the worldwide Body of Christ. You can connect with him on Facebook.