(Courtesy of ACLJ)
Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is in an Iranian prison because of his Christian faith, said she believes God will bring her husband back home, but added that even if He doesn't He is still a good God. She is spending their ninth wedding anniversary alone on Sunday.
Speaking to CBN on "The 700 Club," Naghmeh said God has been good and gracious to her and their two children despite hardships.
The host asked if she believes Saeed will come back home. "I do," Naghmeh replied, saying she hopes God will deliver on that, "but even if He doesn't, He's still a good God.... we can't push God for certain outcomes... He's been gracious and good to us during these times."
Naghmeh, who said goodbye to her husband as he set off on a trip to Iran a year ago, said Saeed was doing okay when his family met him this week, though he was beaten up recently and had internal bleeding. "But he's doing much better." He still has some pain and "we are hoping to get him treated."
Asked how their children were coping with it, Naghmeh said, "It's been hard... recently I shared a video on my Facebook that shows Jacob crying, saying, 'Jesus, I love you, bring daddy home.'" Sometimes they wake up in the morning after seeing a dream and ask if daddy is home yet, she added.
Asked where she gets the strength from, Naghmeh said, "From Christ." She said God has also given her a platform to share about Christ.
Naghmeh spoke at the United Nation earlier this month to seek member states' action on behalf of her husband. She told CBN she was also able to say in front of 196 countries that her husband is in prison because he believes that Jesus Christ died for the sins of humanity and whoever believes in Him can be reconciled to God. Representatives from 196 countries were able to hear that message in their native languages as her remarks were translated, she said.
Naghmeh was also asked how she became Christian although she was born to Muslim parents in Iran.
It was "God's grace," she said, adding, "I was always seeking Him." She said when she was growing up, Iran was at war with Iraq and people were dying around her. "That made me think about who is God and where is He, and I tried to find Him through Islam... But when I came to the [United] States... I was eight or nine... my brother had a vision of Christ and He said, 'I'm the way, the truth and the life.' He [her brother] felt such a strong love... He came to me and told me he was a changed person... I saw he was so shaken."
Naghmeh said she also accepted Christ with her twin brother at the time. "It's been an amazing journey."
Naghmeh said while she hopes the new president, Hassan Rouhani, of Iran will bring some change, Christians are still being persecuted.
The day Rouhani, a moderate cleric, was elected, some Christians were sentenced to a few years in prison, Naghmeh pointed out. It is the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei who controls everything and "his policy towards Christians has always been the same... they see it as a threat to their national security," she said.
Saeed – who grew up in Iran before converting to Christianity at the age of 20 – traveled with his family back and forth between Iran and the U.S. several times in the past few years to meet his family and for Christian work. During one such trip in 2009, he was detained by Iranian officials and interrogated for his conversion. While he was released with a warning against engaging in any more underground church activities, he was once again arrested last July while working on a non-sectarian orphanage project.
Saeed was sentenced to eight years in prison earlier this year for endangering national security, but the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing Naghmeh and their children in the U.S., believes the punishment has more to do with Abedini's Christian faith.
In an article for Fox News published Thursday, Naghmeh said she never imagined that she would have to spend their ninth wedding anniversary alone. "Nor could I have imagined that when Saeed and I said our vows for better or worse, just how those vows would be tested as I waited and prayed for my husband's return to our family one year later," she said.
"Saeed would miss our children's first day of school, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and every memorable event in between," she wrote. "For now, there would be no regular nightly routine of tucking our children into bed together or quiet moments shared between a husband and wife."