After the rains subsided and the angry winds stopped screaming, the survivors of Cyclone Nargis slowly emerged. The trembling citizens of Burma looked glassy-eyed at what was left of their country and shuddered. Cyclone Nargis had destroyed their homes, unearthed their trees, and killed thousands of their family members. Tears poured from the eyes of Burmese men and women as they took in the incalculable devastation. Their hearts shook as the unaided cries of wounded children reverberated in their ears. They wondered if help was on the way. Indeed it was coming, but not for the faithful believers of Burma known as the Karen Christians.
In the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, the government of Burma refused any type of “human” foreign aid. A virtual gasp could be heard around the world as the predominantly Buddhist government turned down foreign help and instead requested that only “helpful materials” be shipped into Burma. A sense of desperation enveloped the country as Burmese citizens waited for much needed “human” foreign aid—aid that was prohibited from coming.
Finally, after pressure from the U.N., the Burmese government “begrudgingly” relented and allowed foreign aid workers to enter into the devastated country. Armed with food, water, and medical supplies, men and women from around the globe were finally allowed to help the grateful citizens of Burma. Tears of joy flowed from the eyes of cyclone victims as relief workers bandaged their wounds and healed their hearts. However, as the non-Christian Burmese citizens celebrated the arrival of foreign aid, a poor group of Karen Christians prayed for help. Unfortunately, help was not on the way.
The Karen Christians of Burma are no strangers to persecution. In fact over the past few years, persecution against Karen Christians in Burma has been on the rise. However, even in the midst of a national disaster, these faithful believers continue to be persecuted. The much needed food, water, and medical assistance that is now being granted to the rest of Burma—is being prohibited from reaching small population of Karen Christians. It is genocide in its worst form. When most countries find unity in the midst of a national disaster, the government of Burma has found an underhanded and malicious way to slowly eliminate faithful followers of Christ. The stench of evil that is rising from the center of the Burmese government–is nauseating.
Yet, what are the authorities of Burma really doing—killing the body? “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell,” (Matthew 10:28). Burmese government authorities may now be wearing their “worldly crowns,” but soon the Karen Christians will be wearing their eternal, heavenly, crowns.