“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me…” 

Jesus fell on his face in the rocky soil of Gethsemane, uttering these words to His Father in those final quiet moments. He was deeply troubled, His earthly frame weighed down by a heavy, splintered spiritual yoke. Despite the overwhelming sorrow, He resolutely finished the prayer: 

“Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 

Jesus knew what would happen next. He would be betrayed by his closest friends…the very ones who promised they would remain faithful hours before. He would be arrested, flogged, and humiliated. His body would bleed, writhe, and eventually fall limp while his persecutors chanted and celebrated. 

With that knowledge, how could Jesus pray for the Father’s will to be done?  

Jesus Christ is a prisoner of hope. And because of His example, our persecuted brothers and sisters—and even us—can resolutely pray the same.  

Hazem and Fatma’s Story of Suffering 

The hope of resurrection, of being in perfect, eternal fellowship with the Father, kept Christ’s feet firmly planted on that path of suffering. It’s the same hope that keeps believers like Hazem and Fatima clinging to faith… 

When this young couple converted to Christianity, they were targeted by the high-ranking leader of a fundamentalist Islamic group in Iraq. He approached them, asking for their 8-year-old daughter’s hand in marriage. 

When Hazem and Fatma adamantly refused, the torment began. 

After a failed attempt to kidnap their daughter, party members pulled up in a car next to Fatima and her two-year-old son. They beat her unconscious, leaving her in a coma for multiple days, and took her child. 

Emad, their precious baby boy, was murdered…his lifeless body was ruthlessly delivered to Hazem and Fatma’s home. 

Becoming Prisoners of Hope 

Overcome with grief and fear, this family fled the country for their lives. Our Field Ministry Team was able to meet them with open arms, providing living expenses and trauma counseling as they endured such unimaginable suffering. 

But our help only pointed them to the faith that would ultimately keep them. 

Hazem and Fatima are held captive by an incomprehensibly beautiful Truth…a Truth that dares to hope, even amid such horror. They cannot unhear the Gospel or unknow Jesus Christ. No matter how hard they weep, how intensely they wrestle, how dark the night gets…they cannot wriggle free from the Lord’s loving embrace.  

As prisoners of hope, they know resurrection is coming… 

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”—Revelation 21:4 

Hazem and Fatima are not better Christians for enduring such suffering. But they are living proof of how deep, how all-encompassing and pervasive, the hope of the Gospel is. They show us how to be prisoners of hope in our own circumstances. 

The Prisoners of Hope Podcast 

It is stories like theirs that led us to produce the Prisoners of Hope Podcast. As we hear the experiences of persecuted Christians—and see how it mirrors our Savior’s own experience—we are reminded that persecution and suffering do not get the last word. 

And God’s call is the same to each and every one of His children… 

“Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope…”—Zechariah 9:12. 

May His will, not ours, be done today. 

Listen to the Prisoners of Hope Podcast on your favorite listening platform today.