In a testament to unwavering faith amidst adversity, a Pakistani pastor was shot and injured by hardline Muslims in Jaranwala, Pakistan. The incident occurred just a week after Islamist slogans were scrawled on the walls of his church. The resilient pastor, Rev. Eleazar Sidhu, serves as the spiritual leader of a Presbyterian congregation in Kukranwala village. His ordeal serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring faith required to withstand persecution in the name of Jesus.
As Pastor Sidhu and his assistant were returning home after visiting church members, two bearded men intercepted their motorcycle near the Khanuwana bus stop. The assailants demanded that Pastor Sidhu recite the Islamic creed. However, the pastor courageously refused and instead began reciting the Apostles’ Creed. In response, one of the attackers fired a gunshot, wounding Pastor Sidhu in the upper part of his chest.
The attackers fled the scene, leaving behind a wounded but resolute pastor. His refusal to renounce his faith, even in the face of danger, exemplifies the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:32-33: “Whoever will confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever will deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”
Prior to the violent attack, unknown individuals had defaced the walls of Pastor Sidhu’s church with Islamist slogans, including phrases like “Muhammad is Allah’s last prophet” and “Here I am at your service, O Messenger of Allah.” Such acts of vandalism are not isolated incidents; they reflect the ongoing persecution faced by Christian communities in Pakistan.
Pastor Sidhu had taken swift action to report the defacement of his church’s walls to the authorities, leading to their immediate whitewashing. However, this courageous act resulted in threats from unidentified individuals, who ominously warned him that he would be “deleted from the world” for opposing their actions.
The same individuals who had threatened Pastor Sidhu were among those who later carried out the attack on him. His experience mirrors the harsh realities faced by many Christians in Pakistan, where violence against religious minorities remains a pressing concern.
In the face of such adversity, it is essential for Christians to find solace in their faith and the promises of God. Romans 8:35-37 offers reassurance: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake, we are killed all day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
The Christian community, both in Pakistan and around the world, stands in solidarity with Pastor Sidhu and others who endure persecution for their faith. It is a reminder that, even in the face of adversity, the Gospel message continues to shine brightly. As efforts are made to seek justice and protection for persecuted Christians, it is also a time for believers to draw closer to God, strengthen their resolve and find inspiration in the enduring faith of individuals like Pastor Eleazar Sidhu.
James Lasher is Staff Writer for Charisma Media.