There’s not much good news out there.
When my husband was deployed, we wives had a saying, “No news is good news,” meaning that if we heard nothing from or about our husbands, it was a good thing. Today, it’s tempting to bury my head in the day-to-day, flip the channel, use the newspaper as packaging and simply pretend that nothing’s going on.
But, Matthew 10:16 makes it clear that we are not to be ignorant of the world around us: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” For one, we have been sent out into the world, and secondly, it’s hard to be wise and oblivious at the same time.
While we certainly do need to be aware of the evil in our world, stand firm, be on guard against the evil one and struggle against the spiritual forces of evil, as believers in the one, true, victorious God, we are also called to think on certain things:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
To that end, let me share a wonderful, current events story that will bolster your faith, encourage you and infuse you with hope for the future.
Recently, a Lebanese, Christian taxi driver was working on the border of Syria. He picked up a customer and began to take him, as directed, to the airport for a flight to Saudi Arabia. But the passenger had more instructions, “But on the way, I want to find a Bible. Can you find me a Bible?”
Boldly, this Christian driver agreed. He had a friend in Beirut, he said, who would gladly give the man a Bible. Then, he broached the question: “Sir, would you like to tell us why you are looking for a Bible?”
The answer was even more astonishing and nothing short of a supernatural intervention by the Creator of all mankind. “I’m from Saudi, I’m a sheikh (which means a teacher of Islam). I’ve been in Syria teaching the ISIS fighters jihad 101, the theology and practice of jihad. I’m sick of the killing. There must be something better than this.“
The reporter of this story (name omitted for his personal safety), went on to share more such stories in an interview with Voice of the Martyrs. At the end of the interview, he was asked how the church can pray for the Muslim world.
He replied, “A lot of us, when we look at what’s happening with ISIS, want to pray against them. This is evil, this is despicable, it’s atrocious, so the natural reaction is to pray out of anger against them.”
A while back, I wrote an article titled, “Who Prayed for Paul?” In it, I wondered what might happen if we Christians began to pray for salvation and seek the good of our enemies rather than ask God to enact vengeance.
This story is the answer.
God is not wiling that any should perish. “God so loved the [whole] world that He gave His only Son” (John 3:16a). Let us tune our ears and hearts toward the things that are true, noble, right, pure and lovely. And let us be the catalyst of these things.
How do you pray for the Muslim world? Do you think it is right to pray for their salvation? What are the true and lovely things you will choose to focus on today?