There are many areas of the world where restrictions are placed on Christians in regard to when, where, and how they may worship. In some countries, Christian worship in any form is not permitted, and some repressive governments arrest and kill Christians simply for declaring or exercising their faith. Christians who live in such areas must expend considerable effort to ensure they will continue to grow and mature in the faith while away from any kind of church atmosphere and in a country hostile to God.
For the Christian in a country that allows possession of a Bible or Bible study material, diligent, daily study of the Word is essential, especially if fellowship with other Christians isn’t possible. It’s essential to spend time each day personally studying God’s Word and praying. For believers in countries where Bibles are outlawed, the internet may help. Numerous websites provide access to the Bible. There are even online fellowship groups for believers to communicate and encourage one another. Radio broadcasts that teach God’s Word are also available in most countries around the world, even if they have to be aired via shortwave from great distances.
Finding other believers in a restricted area can be the beginning of an “underground” home group for believers to get together to study God’s Word and pray. The home church movement in China has produced a strong and vibrant community of Christians facing persecution. Those who have started underground home groups in the Middle East have found a tremendous hunger for God’s Word among English-speaking foreign workers living in their area. These faithful believers rotate the meeting’s location each week, keep invitations to word-of-mouth only, and grow tremendously in their faith during difficult and hostile times.
Nothing can separate a child of God from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:38-39). Even when a Christian is isolated from other believers, he or she can maintain a close relationship with the Lord, and God will encourage and strengthen him or her. Believers have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit who resides within us (Ephesians 1:13–14), and He is the Comforter who will help us through threatening situations. The history of Christianity is filled with stories of believers who maintained strong faith under the worst persecution and isolation imaginable. The power of the Holy Spirit within believers should never be underestimated.