Wednesday, February 18, 2004


I sat in on a luncheon today where a missionary couple talked about the reality of doing ministry in level three countries. These are the kind of countries where you become an outcast when you become a Christian. Primarily they are Muslim countries. Islam is unforgiving of other faiths living in their midst. Especially within the family. A Muslim becoming a Christian means that he/she is basically excommunicated from the family ties. This is a devastating thing in communal cultures.

The amazing thing is that these two missionaries spoke of beatings and executions as if they were just another part of the job of a Christian. At one point he said something like, "The leading cause for people to come to Christ around the world is seeing Christians being martyred. Don't pray that persecution ends." It was astounding. These people lived and breathed life on the brink of death all the time. They have good friends that have died just because they confessed Christ. They seem to stare into the face of death and shrug their shoulders at it. Truly for them, "To live is Christ and to die is gain."

These two had faith that I couldn't comprehend. But they were just like normal folks. They drink Starbucks coffee and eat at Chili's. They had southern accents and made sarcastic jokes. They aren't too holy to hang out with us lowly youngens. They are just like me...only nothing like me. They not only believe in the power of the gospel, but stake their lives on it. They risk it all, daily, just so that others may know Him. They talk about death with a smile on their face. Its as if they know the cross is their destination, and they go their with joy. Not only that, but along the way they invite people to go with them.

Its as if they say, "I am headed to my death. I am headed there in order to follow my Lord. I go their with delight. Come, and follow us there. And bring your friends. And when we get there, we will die. We will suffer, and we will be beaten, and we will bleed. And in this we will imitate our Savior. And in this others will come to know Him. And finally, our lives will be lost and gained. Beyond our grave will be new life. Resurrection is assured and His glory will be realized. Come follow us, as we follow Him, and become the light to the world."

Father, I confess that I know nothing of the faith that these two servants have. Give me a trust in you that could empower me not only to face death, but face it with a smile. Father, if I am honest, part of me doesn't even want this kind of faith, or this kind of calling. I leave it to You, Lord. Help me to see what I cannot.


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