Got a few spare minutes? Use them! Put your phone away, turn off the telly and check this simple, short study to grab some thoughts on perseverance, inspired by the story of Layla from Tajikistan. It might only take you a few minutes to read, but hopefully the words and ideas will stick with you the whole day!
Layla is from Tajikistan, a largely Muslim country in central Asia. As a 16 year old, a teacher at Layla’s school told her class about Jesus. Layla chose to become a Christian there and then, and started going to a local church.
Layla’s family weren’t too worried about her church going… they thought she’d grow out of it. But as her passion for Jesus grew, they became increasingly worried, and angry. Her mother would shout at her – a few times her brother beat her. Then things got worse. They tried to silence her growing faith. They would lock her in her room alone when it was time to go to church. But it didn’t work.
Finally, to keep her quiet and to stop her from being with other Christians, her brother and a friend held her down and shaved off her hair. Everyone would now know she’d brought shame on her family. But Layla didn’t give up. She couldn’t let go of her relationship with Jesus. She had to persevere.
Layla chose to leave. She ran away, and hasn’t been back since. She’s spoken to her mum on the phone, who’s said she can only return if she gets rid of her ‘stupid’ beliefs. She’s now living in a center for survivors of domestic abuse. But she’s still going. “I know that God is my shield and my shelter. He will never forsake me, even if the whole world is against me.”
“But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Imagine it; locked in your room – your freshly shaved hair lying on the floor. Your family hates you. Hurt, shamed, alone. It would be too much. Any of us would crack… we’d give up. We’d relent. But Layla didn’t.
Sadly, too many Christians around the world know what it means to keep going in the face of massive obstacles. They know what it’s like to walk alone, to face jeers, threats and violence. But many don’t give up. They keep on – their unrelenting perseverance and love for
Jesus pulling them through.
We don’t often face trials because of our faith, but many of us know about loss. Many of us have seen friends and family go through sickness and pain. We might have seen key relationships in our lives break down, we might have been treated badly or we might just be having a bad day. But in all this, we can still depend and rely on our heavenly father for strength. He doesn’t falter – his love endures forever. That love is always there, no matter what we might face. As Layla knows, even if it feels like the whole world is against us, God isn’t. And that’s a reason to keep going.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.