|(Cover image courtesy @vynguyenhoang via Twitter)|
Ephesians 6:12 says, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
Reports of chaos and violence seem to stream regularly from this Arab Spring nation. Aimed first at the government, frustrations now seem to have found a new target: Egyptian Christians.
Rody Rodeheaver with IN Network USA says there's more under the surface.
"Right now, there is a battle going on," Rodeheaver states. "It may not be a physical battle, but it's a spiritual battle, and it's a political battle for who's going to control the country of Egypt."
One of IN Network's workers is smack-dab in the middle of things, with Muslim Brotherhood literally around every corner.
"He is deeply concerned about the chaos and where all of this is going to lead," says Rodeheaver.
"He's seeing this whole thing through the eyes of an evangelical Christian who's doing ministry…and he is Egyptian. It is his country, and it is his future."
The worker, whose name we're withholding for security reasons, sees both sides of the political coin. He understands why it was important for the military to step in, Rodeheaver explains.
"However, he also realizes that when that happens, the cycle of reconstructing the country is really starting over," adds Rodeheaver.
IN Network's worker and his family, along with fellow believers throughout Egypt, are caught between a rock and a hard place. Unrest is causing the need for ministry to grow.
Rodeheaver gives IN Network's ministry to street kids as an example. As chaos grows, he says, more people are unable to care for their children. Either abandoned or forced out, many kids find themselves on the streets; this is where IN Network workers focus on bringing a message of hope and new life through Christ.
But venturing into the streets right now could put a Christian's life at-risk.
"You can't travel very far in your neighborhood without being stopped at a Muslim Brotherhood checkpoint," Rodeheaver says. "There's great danger in that.
"If they discover that you're really a Christian, and if the right people are at that checkpoint, it could [become] very dangerous."
The ripple effect is restricting many aspects of ministry. A conference for young leaders was supposed to start this week.
"We're having to postpone it because people can't get around the city," Rodeheaver says. "People can't come in from other cities because the train service is being disrupted.
"All of those kinds of things make it hard to do ministry."
In the face of great needs come pronounced opportunities to respond.
"This [need] demonstrates that we, as the Church of Christ, are really connected through the Spirit and the movement of God," states Rodeheaver.
"We have the call to pray, the call to stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ. It could be just encouragement. It could be sending some funds to really help the ministry."
"God has His people there, and we need to pray a hedge of protection around them. This is critical," Rodeheaver adds.
"Over and over again, we see how limited we are in terms of being able to control the situation. We can't control it, and it really takes us--forces us--back to our knees."