She arrived with a scream of life, unaware the place she’d been born is in turmoil. She didn’t know her arrival was marked by hard-fought joy in the midst of pain. She couldn’t know her status as a female made her a target of the new leaders in Afghanistan.
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And this new little life was blissfully unaware that her parents intended to raise her in a faith that would put an even larger target on her back.
The juxtaposition of a new life in a place where the fear of death was on everyone’s mind is sobering. What kind of life will this little girl have?
A cloak of silence
The last time the Taliban were in power, women were banned from the workplace and schools—along with a series of other dire restrictions. Once again, they feel exposed.
Christian women are even more at risk. Afghanistan is No. 2 on the 2021 World Watch List, which notes: “Leaving Islam is considered shameful, punishable by death under the prevailing Islamic law and most Christian converts face dire consequences if exposed: Either they have to flee the country or they will be killed.”
Afghan women are unlikely to report persecution because of the stigma attached and the unlikely chances of receiving justice through the courts.
“There is a complete cloak of silence around any kind of violation of a woman’s space and dignity,” a local source told Open Doors. “How do we equip Christian women—to make their mark and to impact the world from behind their veil to inspire a rescue plan of incarnational proportions, even in the midst of this darkness?
“Who cares anymore? Soon the cameras will be turned off. Soon their grandmother’s story of suffering under the Taliban will become theirs,” the source said.
Breaking through the darkness
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He came into the world in occupied territory to parents who were targets because of who they were. Jesus’ parents were forced to flee a mad ruler who murdered children without shame. His early years were as a refugee in Egypt, finally returning home to a place under the thumb of an empire.
This is the story of Christianity. God breaks through the darkness, and in the person of Jesus breaks the chains of hopelessness.
So yes, the life a Christian baby in Afghanistan will be hard. She will be a target. Her parents will weep and be fearful. But she is not alone—Jesus is with her. And through Him, Christians around the world can be with her, too.
This little girl’s parents said her birth gives them hope God has not given up on their country. And perhaps it’s a reminder that we shouldn’t give up, either even when the situation seems hopeless. Through prayer, join this new sister and her parents as they follow Jesus in a land so hostile to Christians:
Pray for Afghanistan with us
- Thank God that His gift of new life and hope isn’t stopped by governments or by injustice; pray for the baby girl’s safety and future as she starts life under Taliban rule.
- Ask God to use all circumstances to accomplish His will. Pray that the Christian population in Afghanistan would be both protected and strengthened during this latest period of trial and persecution.
- Knowing that God moves the hearts of kings and rulers, pray He would give wisdom and courage to international leaders of both governments and ministries to stand for the most vulnerable and advocate, especially at this time, for the rights of women and girls of minority faiths.
- Mindful that God’s light shines brightest in the dark places, pray for opportunities for Afghan Christians to show the love of God to their hurting neighbors in this time of political upheaval.
Do you feel moved to pray for Afghanistan? Share in the comments below.
(Reprinted with permission from Open Doors. Article by Christopher Summers. Photo Credit: Chris McGrath/Getty Images).