There are many across the political spectrum that will claim Barack Obama has let them down at some point over the last six and a half years. The reasons for their disappointment with the Obama presidency vary. Regardless of political persuasion, everyone should agree that among the greatest disappointments of this administration is its failure to secure the release of Saeed Abedini. This American citizen has been imprisoned, beaten, tortured, and denied medical treatment in an Iranian prison for the “crime” of sharing his religious faith. Any other administration in American history would have already secured his release. That is, any other administration but this one.Actually, I don't agree that this is a failure at all. If Mr. Abedini wishes to preach Christ to muslims in a country where such preaching is banned, than it is his duty to shoulder the God-given consequences of his decision. Morever, he should strongly consider the example of his forebear, St. Paul, who, after recounting his suffering for Christ, said, "That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Note that he didn't ask for the imperial government to deliver him from persecution.
Christ made it very clear that those who wish to be his disciple need to count the cost of doing so. Those disciples who are called to spread the word will pay a high price indeed, and must be willing to pay it without complaint. While it is certainly disheartening to see a brother in Christ tortured for his faith, it should not be surprising, for the world hated Christ, and will most certainly hate those who aspire to follow after him.
More to the point, though, petitioning for the release of a persecuted Christian is a tactically foolish decision. Martyrdom, though discouraging, often has the effect of inspiring followers, for it necessarily begs the question of what is so valuable that someone found to be worth dying for? This is warfare on the moral level, and Muslims have been winning this ground for decades with their willingness to die for their cause. Christians will not begin to win until, paradoxically, they are willing to die. If a Christian is not willing to suffer or die for his beliefs, just how valuable are his beliefs?
This is not to say that persecution is easy to endure, or even enjoyable. However, it is utter foolishness to think that persecution is to be avoided or escaped. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."