Can you imagine being kidnapped and accused of crimes by Islamic State. Do you think you’d survive? For many Syrian and Iraqi Christians, the threat is very real, and the stories of torture and execution cause fear and worry. So, when Meghrik was kidnapped, put on trial and stood in front of an empty grave, he thought that was the end.
He was fleeing Aleppo. He was on a bus with lots of other people. He’d been brought up in a Christian family, but wasn’t a Christian. He didn’t really think God existed.
Some IS fighters stopped and boarded his bus. They looked at everyone’s papers. As he had a Christian name he was singled out. He told them he wasn’t a Christian, but still, they took him off the bus and drove him to Raqqa, the capital of Islamic State’s self proclaimed caliphate.
That evening he found himself facing an Islamic State judge. The judge looked again at Meghrik’s papers. Convinced that he was a believer, he sentenced him to death. Again, Meghrik said he didn’t believe in God, but the judge sent him away.
Meghrik was blindfolded and taken outside. He was pushed into the hole – a ready-dug grave. He heard the sound of weapons being loaded. He couldn’t think properly. He started crying. At this point, he cried out to God from is heart: “God, if you exist, let me live. Please give me a chance to get to know you!”
There was no shot. He was told he could be free if he converted to Islam. But that wasn’t the end of the ordeal. He was taken to a cell, accused of many crimes and tortured. After a few days he was taken to another judge, who, at last, freed Meghrik.
Disbelieving, on the tenth day of his imprisonment Meghrik was freed. He bore with him a document that gave him the right to pass all IS checkpoints on his return home. There, he fell into the arms of his parents. He had changed.
Now he knows that the living God exists. Now he knows that God hears our prayers.
“Before the kidnap I was almost an atheist, even though I had been raised a Christian. About a month before I was kidnapped, a friend of mine asked me what I thought about Jesus. He challenged me to pray and ask God to show that He exists. I did. I prayed to God: ‘God, if You exist, would you show me that You exist.’ After that, I more or less forgot about it.
“Until the moment they threw me into that hole to kill me. At that moment I felt regret and I prayed again. I said to God: ‘If you exist, please give me a chance to get to know you.’ When they didn’t kill me at the last moment, my thoughts changed about God. I thought that God really heard my prayer at that moment.
“After that I was forced to convert to Islam. I did so, just to save my life. When they kept torturing me, I prayed again. ‘God, you saved me the first time, so why do you let them torture me again? Please, Lord, get me out of here so that I can search for you and learn about you.’ The days passed and the judge didn’t sentence me. God changed the heart of the judge, he set me free.
“It was an indescribable moment when I finally left that place, a moment of happiness and a fulfilment of God’s promises. He heard my prayers during my days in custody. I felt that this is the Bible in practice. The Bible, the book that I had been reading before, without really believing it.
“I had a Bible verse in mind that day: ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Romans 5:8) I remembered how I had defended (argued) to my friends that God didn’t exist, that I had denied Jesus and was even ready to convert to Islam.
“But God didn’t leave me or let me down, He stayed with me ’til the end to show me His existence.”
*Name changed for security reasons
Source: Open Doors
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.