The Cost of Faith: Part 1
05/21/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – “In love, You came and gave amazing grace. Thank you for this love, Lord.”
ICC’s field staff sang these words freely in a conference room in Thailand, but they didn’t forget for a moment that they could be killed for this action in their own countries. The force of these words carried an underlying meaning for this particular body of believers.
One of them came from Nigeria, the site of the most brutal destruction of Christian communities in the 21st century. Another came from Indonesia, where church congregations worship in constant fear of bombings.
That day, ICC’s field staff took a break from administering aid, bandaging wounds, and ministering to victims of rape and violence to worship the Lord at ICC’s annual staff conference. After witnessing horrible tragedies affect their communities, you’d think that their faith in an almighty, good God would be shaken. But it wasn’t.
In the West, believers freeze in fear when confronted with the “problem of evil.” At best, trials in the West are annoying and cumbersome. At worst, they are challenges to the existence of God. The question remains, “How can a good God allow evil to happen?”
The persecuted, who have experienced true spiritual oppression, have a different view of these trials.
When he stood up to speak, one of ICC’s Egyptian field staffers introduced a man named Darius to fellow staff members at the conference. Darius couldn’t be there in person, but his faithfulness to Jesus tangibly impacted all who heard his story.
Darius is a Muslim-background believer, condemned to live as a social pariah for his conversion from Islam to Christianity, an illegal act in Egypt. After Darius accepted Jesus through a Christian satellite program in Egypt, tragedy struck. He was beaten, exiled from his home, and rejected by his Muslim family. He lost everything, including his home, which he built with his own hands. When he tried to start over in a new place six months later, the locals caught wind of his faith and beat him almost to the point of death, leaving him in an emergency room.
Today, Darius sits on the front bench at church, even though he knows that the services will be broadcasted. He has nothing to hide. He would gladly suffer the consequences again and again to share the Good News with his community.
“This is real faith – real devotion. This believer is truly following after Jesus. What about me?” This was the question on everyone’s hearts after hearing Darius’s story that day – even the field staffer who shared this story, a man who regularly dies to himself to serve the Kingdom of God on the field every day.
Stay tuned for Part 2, coming tomorrow.
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