"Perhaps someone in this world would hear my cries
and feel my pain...."
"Khoda! Khoda!" ( Farsi for God! God!) Reyhaneh! Reyhaneh!"
For as long as I live, I will never forget the agonizing and gut-wrenching cries of Shole Pakravan, as she received the painful news of her daughter's execution.
I was quietly praying for Reyhaneh inside of the chapel at work during my break time.
It was 9 pm on a Friday evening in St. Louis, Missouri and approximately 6:30 am in Tehran, Iran. Dawn had just broken over Evin Prison and despite International outcry and a petition containing over 200,000 signatures, The Iranian killing machine hanged 26 year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari, an innocent martyr, for the crime of "self defense!"
No doubt, the final words of her daughter, were racing through Shole's mind at that agonizing moment, "I love you..I wish I could have hugged you until I died...."
I had been in the middle of praying when I discovered this haunting video on my cell phone. I stopped for just a minute and I as I watched dear Shole in her agony, I wept and pleaded with God for His mercy.
I remembered the words of Reyhaneh, in one of her letters from prison, in which she cried out for someone to listen to her and be her voice
"Perhaps someone in this world would hear my cries and feel my pain..."
At that unforgettable moment in the prayer chapel at work, I truly connected with both Reyhaneh and Shole......I felt their pain..I was gripped by their suffering and agony...Indeed, I heard their cries and it is a moment that I will never forget for the rest of my life.
The day that this brutal and unforgiving regime hanged Reyhaneh and thrust a "sword of injustice" through her mother's heart, was only 11 days until her 27th birthday! For seven agonizing years Reyhaneh had suffered in prison for the stabbing death of Morteza Sarbandi, a former Iranian intelligence agent, who had lured her into his apartment to do some interior designing work and then tried to rape her.
From the age of 19 until her unjust death at the young age of 26, Reyhaneh had never experienced a normal adult life. "The world allowed me to live for 19 years.." Reyhaneh writes in her prison letter (Part 1)...I want them to know what happened to me at the age of 19 that has made me no longer fear death...."
For Reyhaneh, her life had stopped....her life had ended at 19..when she was thrust into the grave of Evin Prison. Yet inspite of her suffering, Reyhaneh cried out to the world through her prison letters which became her "voice" to anyone who would listen to her cause, her side of the story of what really happened.
"With a hanging rope in front of my eyes..I want to tell you everything that I said in court..everything that I screamed while I was brutally kicked by four forceful interrogators, who regarded themselves as almighty..perhaps someone in this world would hear my cries and feel my pain...."
For more than six months, I heard the cries and felt the pain of Reyhaneh. My Facebook page was filled with petitions and stories about her plight. I wrote a blog about her entitiled, "The crime of self defense," and pleaded with my listeners on my radio program to be a voice for Reyhaneh, save her life and sign the petition for her freedom.
For one month before her execution, I paused from work at break time and went to the chapel and prayed for her. I was confident that God heard the cries of the oppressed and suffering and would deliver Reyhaneh.
It was only an hour after watching that agonizing video in the chapel that I received the tragic news on my cell phone that Reyhaneh had been executed. I paused from my work at the hospital and found a quiet place and went to my Facebook page. With tears streaming down my face, I wrote the following post to my followers:
"With sadness and brokenness, I have to report that our dear Reyhaneh was executed just a few minutes ago....I am truly broken and yet there is a part of me that is rejoicing because now Reyhaneh is finally safe at home in the arms of Jesus....Death no longer has power over her...The Iranian Regime has lost..they can no longer hurt her...
Jesus had the final word!
Reyhaneh we love you and we will miss you, but one day soon we will see you again at the great banquet table in heaven..This is a promise.
Jesus had the final word, not the cruel and barbaric Iranian Regime! During his suffering for his Christian faith on the Island of Patmos, John had an incredible vision of Jesus that encouraged him in the midst of his dark trial. John fell down in worship as Jesus laid his right hand upon him:
"Fear not, I am the First and the Last and the living one. I died and behold I am alive forevermore and I have the keys of death and hades!"
This is a powerful and comforting claim from the one who conquered death, hell and the grave! Jesus is the sovereign Lord over life and death. He has the final word, which means that at our moment of death, we are safe and secure in his arms of love.
As I pondered this Scripture, I was comforted by the fact that Reyhaneh was finally free from the grave of her prison and had been ushered into the arms of a loving Savior.....
Jesus holds the keys of death and hades! He had the final word! The many cruel years of torture and injustice had finally came to an end for our dear Reyhaneh. There was a few moments of frustration and sadness for me that God had not spared her life and yet I realized that he had indeed delivered her and answered my prayers. It was just ten days until her birthday! For the past six years, Rehayneh had spent her birthday behind the bars of a dark and cruel prison. However this year on her 27th birthday, she would finally be free!
On November 5, the world will pause and remember Reyhaneh by lighting a candle in her honor..I too will light a candle...
"Happy Birthday dear Reyhaneh..We will never forget your suffering and injustice..we will remember your bravery, beauty, patience and your hope for justice!