Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
I have referenced my trip to Afghanistan a few years ago as part of a Christian NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) in a number of devotionals. It was truly a wonderful, eye-opening trip. I treasure the memories of the Afghan Christians and Christian workers I encountered on that trip. Seeing first hand, the reality of a Muslim culture faced by those who are Christian in Afghanistan was eye-opening for me. Even more so was the ever present threat of the Muslim culture to the Afghan Christians.
The leader of our NGO and I would take prayer walks in the mornings after our arrival. During those initial walks, he first assured me that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Then, speaking of the gospel, he went on to instruct me that I must always be aware of the fact that, “Here – the wrong word at the wrong time could get someone killed.” Wisdom and an awareness of who was hearing what was being said were absolutely required.
Coming to grips with men and women who had accepted Christ but were unable to share that with their Muslim spouse or family was totally new to me. How could an Afghan who had genuinely been changed by Christ be silent? A significant part of the answer was the knowledge that in their Muslim culture, the extended family would likely kill the believing spouse when they learned of their Christian faith. This wasn’t – and isn’t – ‘urban legend’ but a reality that happened to people they knew.
This also kept many Afghan Christians from becoming part of an underground church – or any Christian gathering for that fact. They did not know who they could trust and who might be there for the hidden purpose of identifying them. The exposure could result in their death.
The temptation was present to become judgmental and question the reality of their faith. While I didn’t yield to that temptation, the question was raised in my mind. Fortunately, I looked to the Lord for understanding and compassion for those around me there.
Gordon Conwell Seminary did some research a few years ago and developed the estimate that each year 171,000 Christians are martyred for their faith. That is a big number. Those are all brothers and sisters in Christ who lost their lives simply because they believed in Jesus. The difficulties we face pale in comparison to the dangers many Christians around the world face – and that isn’t even addressing the poverty of their societies compared to the wealth we have in the west.
Thank God for the many missionaries and Christian workers who are going to the nations to share the ‘true wealth’ of the Gospel of Christ. In spite of the threats, millions of Muslims worldwide are becoming Christians each year. May our hearts be moved to prayer and compassion for these believers and the dangers they may face daily because they too have responded to the love of God in Jesus Christ.