Today, something that is right with the world:
From browsing Compass Direct News Service, I have just learned (rather late in the game) that Christian convert Bahaa El-Akkad was released at the end of April from highly unpleasant imprisonment in Egypt.
I first learned of Sheikh El-Akkad from TROP last fall, when they had a link to this story. El-Akkad used to be the leader of a group that taught and promoted Islam, but he gradually "became disillusioned," began to pray that he could "somehow know God personally," and eventually converted to Christianity. When the secret police learned of it, he was arrested, apparently under a provision of Egyptian law that allows imprisonment for "insulting a heavenly religion" and "committing blasphemy against Islam." Though a court eventually ordered his release, the authorities defied the court order and transferred him to a prison "notorious for its spartan conditions in the desert," housing its prisoners in one by two meter cells.
The more recent story tells how, in April, prison officials told El-Akkad that he would stay there for another ten years if he did not return to Islam. He replied, "God has brought me to this place, and he alone will let me go to my home. You cannot do anything against God." Just hours later, in a gesture that has not yet been explained, prison officials handed him money for a taxi, opened the door of the prison, and sent him home. It isn't quite as dramatic as St. Peter's prison visit from the angel, but it'll do very well!
El-Akkad was somehow able to receive word from his family while in prison that thousands of people were praying for him. (These, incidentally, included Middle McGrew Daughter, who prayed faithfully for El-Akkad for months.) He says, "I was sure that was true, because Jesus was with me all through my ordeal."
He is still in danger, as the Muslim Brotherhood and others have evidently threatened to kill him for committing apostasy, and he is still being "monitored," apparently by the authorities.
But with this evidence that God answers prayer before us, we should be the more encouraged to pray for him, and for all the persecuted Church.
Thou wast their Rock, their fortress and their might,
Thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight,
And thou in the darkness drear their one true Light.
From the hymn "For All the Saints"