On the Frontlines
I am a big fan of hero movies. Whether it is movies about real heroes or super heroes I just love the idea behind individuals that risk and sometimes sacrifice their lives for a greater cause than themselves. In the military we often find those valiant warriors are on the front lines of the battle. About three days ago I returned from a trip to GooJoo where we trained 270 pastors. During that trip I was surrounded by many heroes. Doctors and nurses who served over 900 people at a clinic in just four days; Trainers who encouraged missionaries that will go out to unreached areas. Individuals who visited widows and worked with them to change their lives with micro loans which will help feed their children and keep their homes.
But the most impressive of heroes, were the ones we sent out. Many may go out and never return – risking their lives to share a message of hope. While I was there I spent hours meeting and praying with those modern biblical warriors and I met one that I will never forget.
I remembered him from the prior trip when he was just sent out. As he sat down before me I noticed a warm glow in his eyes – so full of life and passion. Then he began to share his story with me. He went to an unreached village preaching the good news. He was able to build relationship with the local villagers and many started following Christ. Eventually together they acquired some land and built a place of worship. Not much different than many of the other men who had gone out.
He then spoke of opposition. There were those of a different belief that did not want the good news he had to share. They harassed him and those who attended at the place of worship. Some were routinely attacked and beaten.
One day while at a worship service, a crowd of villagers came with gas cans and poured gas around the building and set it on fire. Those in attendance fled as the building was engulfed. The Pastor then was drug from the building and beat until he was unconscious and left for dead. During the beating his arm left arm was paralyzed and his left hand was crippled. He woke up three days later and was able to find someone to help him get to a hospital.
At this point I think many would say they had done their best, and it wasn’t meant to be. That they had given all they could and it wasn’t worth the risk – but not this warrior. He had already counted the cost and was willing to risk it all on the front lines. Luke 14:25-34 He returned to the site of where he was left for dead, and once again began to preach the good news. He loved them more than his own life.
This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. John 15:12-14
Many of those who had previously raged against him, almost beating him to death, were so moved by his compassion that they gave their lives to the one who gave His all – Jesus. The government hearing of the news, provided funds for the building to be rebuilt. Now the church community is thriving and many have come to know what it is like to follow Christ. Out of ashes, life has been reborn.
Let us not forget to pray for those on the front lines, those who are willing to count the cost – even risking their lives until death. These are the men and women whom God has sent to spread His message of good news – love and compassion that relentlessly pursues those who desperately need a relationship with the loving God. Also, let us ask ourselves how can we join the battle.