For some 444 days between November 4, 1979 and January 20, 1981, 52 American diplomats and civilians were held hostage in Tehran after a group of Iranian students belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line, and who supported the Iranian Revolution, took over the U.S. Embassy in Iran’s capital city.
In any event, the news recently reported that those hostages still living (along with the descendants of those who have died) are finally receiving compensation from the government for their time in captivity.
A provision in the omnibus spending bill signed by President Obama late last year provides for up to $4.4 million to be paid to each of the 37 surviving hostages or the estates of 16 others who have died since their return from captivity. This also includes payments of up to $600,000 for each spouse or child of a hostage.
The money for the compensation is to come in part from a $9 billion penalty paid by the French bank BNP Pariba, which had violated sanctions prohibiting conducting business with Iran, Cuba, and Sudan. Lawyers for the hostages say that they are fully expectant that all the survivors or their estates will ultimately be paid in full.
There had been some small compensation along the way. Most notably, in the months after their release, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn gave them lifetime passes to MLB games. But the hostages had been barred from taking legal action against Iran under the terms of the so-called January 1981 Algiers Accords that led to their release. In addition, previous attempts at financial compensation had failed in Congress.
Thus, at long last, after a lifetime of waiting, their just reward is now unfolding. One attorney, Thomas Lankford, put it succinctly: "Iran is not paying the money, but it’s as close as you can get."
All of this this leads me to my point.
In the New Testament of Gospel of Matthew (chapters 5, verses 1-12), Jesus began His “Sermon on the Mount” with the famed Beatitudes...
1Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,
2and he began to teach them.
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
I draw your attention to verses 11 and 12. The Bible plainly teaches, not only in this passage but in numerous others as well, that Christians will face injustices in this world. Indeed, Jesus Himself said not to be surprised if the world hates us as His follower,s for it first hated Him (John 15:18).
And what does this mean? At the least, there will be times when we will be misunderstood. At the worse, there will be times when we will be outright persecuted and even martyred for our faith. This is how it was for Jesus; and this is how it will be for His followers.
Of course, for many, the perseverance of believers in the face of such persecution may not make sense. But for those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ, we recognize that our reward is not of this world. It is of the next! Just as it was for Christ Himself, who even now is seated at the right hand of the Heavenly Father. Thus, while it may not seem apparent to those who look on from the outside, our compensation will surely come!
In the meantime, our job is simply to persevere. We are to carry on the work we have been given to do in His name. We are to be found faithful! And God, Who according to his Holy Word (2 Peter 3:9), is not slack in keeping His promises, will one day reward the faithfulness of His people.
Is $4.4 million just compensation for 444 days of captivity followed by 35 years of seemingly being forgotten? Arguably not. Any recompense should certainly have been sooner and should seemingly have been more. And it is also reasonable to expect that the compensation should have come, not from a French bank, but from the actual perpetrators of the hostage crisis. But at least the compensation did eventually come.
Is a lifetime of suffering and/or persecution fair for a follower of Christ? Perhaps not. But as the writer of the New Testament Book of Hebrews reminds us (chapter 10, verses 32-36), when one considers the promise of God that our recognition and reward will surely be forthcoming in the life to come, such injustices in this world become not merely bearable, or acceptable, but even desirable.
32Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.
34You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
And what a day, glorious day that will be!
STORY SOURCE: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/12/25/former-iran-hostages-will-receive-up-to-4-4m-each-in-compensation-report-says.html?intc
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com.