Your enemies will be right in your own household! -Matthew 10:36 (NLT)
But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. -Joshua 24:15 (NIV)
In April 2014, I was fortunate enough to hear Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini, give her testimony about the ways God has carried her and her husband in their lives. Up until January 2016, pastor Saeed had been wrongly imprisoned and tortured for his faith in Iran. Stateside, he was separated from his wife Naghmeh and his two children.
Naghmeh loyally advocated for her husband’s freedom far and wide, making his name known worldwide. She went to the United Nations, and even secured a promise from President Barack Obama that her husband would be freed. In January 2016, worldwide prayers for pastor Saeed were answered. He was free!
But soon after he was free, Naghmeh revealed on Facebook and in interviews that all was not well in the Saeed household. She apologized for keeping years of abuse in the dark, while she tirelessly and publicly fought for her husband’s freedom. In an email to her supporters, she wrote that some of the troubles faced since the early days of their marriage were “physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse (through Saeed’s addiction to pornography).”
Legal action has been taken to ensure her children stay in Iowa till the matter is resolved. Meanwhile, she still believes in God to make a miracle happen in their marriage, and pleaded with the public to not turn on her husband for his mistakes. You can read more about their story in the Christianity Today article, “Pastor Saeed Abedini’s Wife Halts Public Advocacy, Citing Marital Woes and Abuse.”
I shared with her my testimony of the spiritual battles I’ve been fighting, and continue to fight, believing that God wanted my story to be shared to encourage her and others, just as her strength and loyalty can inspire others as well. It’s also important to expose wrongdoing in the light, where God’s searing light will force just action to be taken.
No matter how things appear publicly, Satan will always battle you first in your home, where you live. If you aim to live for Christ, you can be sure that the adversary will work to divide and conquer you…to take your focus off the Lord. He will work to have others quickly judge you and condemn you. He will work to make you believe it, too!
But know Jesus’ words, that to follow Christ is to expose ourselves to opposition and heat at every turn. To follow Him is to face hardship and condemnation. But He has overcome the world, so we are to take heart. His ultimate sacrifice made the ultimate gift of salvation available to us by faith, and so the most valuable gift of all is the one we will face the most opposition to attaining.
Suit up in the full armor of God as soon as you get up. Know that the enemy wages war on you even in your home, before you even set foot out that door. He thrives behind closed doors! As a protected child of Christ, tell him that you serve Jesus and none other. Satan has no place here, no foothold!
The battle starts at home!