To the church in Smyrna - the persecuted Church - Revelations 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
We now move to the church in Smyrna. Smyrna in ancient times was a very wealthy and powerful city, indeed it vied with Ephesus and Pergamon for influence in the region. Today, Smyrna is located within modern-day İzmir, a city that has almost continuously been inhabited for centuries.
Clearly the Smyrna church was facing hostilities and possibly persecution, a situation far from our 21st century church setting. We can only imagine the horror of such a situation.
Shiela Cassidy knew such hostilities whilst serving as a Doctor in Chile. In 1975, Cassidy was caught up in the violence of the Pinochet regime. She gave medical care to Nelson Gutiérrez, a political opponent of the new regime who was being sought by the police. As a result, she was herself arrested on 1 November 1975 by the Chilean secret police, the DINA, and kept in custody without trial. During the early part of her custody, she was severely tortured in the notorious Villa Grimaldi near Santiago, Chile, to force her to disclose information about her patient and her other contacts.
Later in 1975, Cassidy was released from custody and returned to the UK with the assistance of the British government and Roberto Kozak. Her subsequent description of her experiences, including her account of her torture on the parrilla and her imprisonment, did much to bring to the attention of the UK public the widespread human rights abuses that were occurring at the time in Chile. Her story appeared in news media and in her book, Audacity to Believe.
From her experience she writes, “Slowly I learn the importance of powerlessness. I experience it in my own life and I live with it in my work. The secret is not to be afraid of it—not to run away. The dying know that we are not God… All they ask is that we do not desert them.”
When I feel crushed by my own worries,
Lift my mind and help me to see the truth.
When fear grips me tight and I feel I cannot move,
Free my heart and help me to take things one step at a time.
When I can’t express the turmoil inside,
Calm me with Your quiet words of love.
I choose to trust in You, each day, each hour, each moment of my life.
I know deep down that I in Your grace, forgiven, restored by Your sacrifice, You have set me free.
Post a Comment