Continued from my last post.
Another speaker at our Missions Conference was a pastor from the Gaza Strip. I’m sure you are aware of the war zone that has flared up in this region; because of that, this pastor has been away from his home for several months. However, he shared with us the stories of the men and women who serve with him in the few Evangelical churches in Gaza.
One young father, a man who worked for the Bible Society, the only Christian library in all of Gaza, was recently martyred for his faith. He was apparently pinpointed by an extremist Muslim group who spent several days harassing and threatening him to “become a Muslim” and “give up Christianity.” When he continued to refuse, they resorted to violence. The young man disappeared from his work and was missing for ten hours. During this time, his friends and family knew that he was probably being tortured.
His wife, the mother of his two young sons and an unborn child, told the pastor who spoke to us that she hoped she would never see her husband again. Shocking? This wife understood what was happening to her husband; he would not be released unless he had renounced his faith in Christ. She said, “If my husband returns to me now I know I will have lost him twice. If they kill him at least I know I will see him in Heaven.”
This is one of the many reasons I believe faith in eternity is so essential. How else would a person survive this kind of loss in the context of such irrational hatred? Later the pastor told us that the young man was eventually found dead. It was a difficult season for their church and the pastor admitted he went to God with his questions and doubts. Eventually he felt the comforting peace of God and recommitted himself again to the work of Christ. His dedication prayer went something like this, “I know that if something happens to me, You will be a better father than I could have been. I know that if I lose my life, You will be a better provider than I have been. I trust you, Lord, to take care of the ones I love the most.”
I’ve never been one for secret blog identities, but I’m leaving out names in this post on purpose for the sake of these special people and their families in the path of danger.