Friday, December 11, 2009

Missing Zeros

For some time now I have been forwarding, via email, China Aid updates on Gao Zhisheng, a Chinese Christian attorney who represents the rights of Chinese Christians against an oppressive and often violent regime.  For those of you who are unaware of Gao's plight, he has once again been arrested, persecuted, and his whereabouts and well-being are unknown (for information, please visit  Yet, within the context of the message I received this morning in my inbox is something that causes me deep concern.

China Aid is a very large organization, one that has proven itself to be effective in putting pressure on governments that persecute and oppress their Christian citizens.  I am confident that their letters, emails and updates reach into the homes of millions of Americans.  Although the response to their petition to free Gao was apparently successful, they note that only 5284 Christians have responded to their plea to contact their Representatives and ask them to become involved in helping free him.  At first, I thought it was a typo, that a zero or two had been omitted.  How could a mere 5284 Christian hearts be moved when a brother in Christ is suspected of being physically brutalized and persecuted for his belief and his whereabouts unknown?  Demographically, that is only one congregation of a large church, and 1/6th of what is considered a "mega-church" in America.  To me, the number was staggering and disturbing because it also speaks of what resides, or fails to reside, in the hearts of those who claim to know Jesus Christ.

I often read accounts of Christians in dark nations who tell organizations like China Aid or VOM they are praying for us.  Astounding, isn't it?  They are praying for Americans in spite of suffering the loss of their possessions, homes, jobs, and often being forced to flee and hide from those who would kill them.  Yet, they are praying for us.  That should strike the hearts of every Christian in America where we are still afforded the right to worship our God in the way we desire and not fear reprisal and severe persecution.  I also have read of Chinese, North Korean, and other Asian Christians whose desire it is to come to America and evangelize here.  One may ask why they think it is necessary that they do so, but perhaps it is not so far-fetched that Americans are in need of it, especially when the apathy and complacency of many is glaringly evident in their failure or refusal to become involved in standing alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in the dark corners of this earth.

Zero is a non-number.  It means nothing unless other numbers are added to it.  The more zeros, the greater the number; but they first must have the number "1" placed before  or after them to give them value.  When the Pharisee's power and authority was challenged by Jesus and they demanded He silence the praise of His disciples in Jerusalem, He told them, "I tell you...if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." (Luke 19:40 NIV)  There may be silence in the missing zeros, but the faithful "stones", those who have added their "1" before them, will have their voices heard.   

" 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied.  'Now get up and stand on your feet.  I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of Me and what I will show you.  I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles.  I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.'(Acts 26:15-18) 

Gao Zhisheng and faithful Christians everywhere have answered God's call to present His Gospel to others, "to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light".  Whatever the cost to us, we should stand with them in prayer and act when the occasion to do so arises.  I pray you will take two minutes of your time and add your name to the 5284 Christians who have contacted their Representatives on behalf of Gao.  Perhaps, then, the zeros I thought were missing will become a reality - for God's honor and glory.

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