The other day, I was thinking about something that happened to me years ago, and what God might want me to [re]learn from it now.
It was early one morning, and I was awakened by the phone ringing. Trying not to sound too groggy, I answered, “Hhhelllo?” It was Sue, a nurse who attended our church. She was calling from the hospital and was near the end of her night shift, asking me to come as quickly as I could. So, I got dressed and bolted out the door.
When I arrived, I was met by Sue who stopped me in the hall outside the hospital room she would take me into. She explained what I was about to walk into. A young man lay inside that room; 18 years old and as she explained, brain dead. He had been in an early morning motorcycle accident and there was really no hope of him surviving, based on the extensive brain trauma.
It was devastatingly sad, but I didn’t know this young man, or mother and sister who were also in his room. So, why had I been called into this situation?
This Middle Eastern mother, sister, and son were recent converts to Christianity. They each had converted from Islam to embrace a relationship with Jesus. Wonderful! But again, why was I asked to come? I had been asked to come as a pastor to pray for and with them. You see, the father of the family had stepped out. The father of the family was still a devout Muslim. The father of the family didn’t know about his wife’s, daughter’s, and son’s conversion to Jesus. And the father of the family would be returning to the hospital at any moment. So, essentially the mother wanted a Christian pastor to come and pray with her, her daughter, and her son a) before they turned off the life support system keeping him alive, and b) before the husband/father returned. Have you ever felt pressure?
In the midst of that incredibly sad situation, I was so impressed by the mother’s faith. You might say, “If her faith was so strong, she’d stand up to her husband and tell him about her conversion.” But if you understand anything about the Muslim faith, you know that such a thing is easier said than done, to say the very least.
The truth is, she had risked a lot. Not only had she risked so much to leave Islam and embrace Jesus, but she continued to risk by inviting me to come and share in the darkness of their family’s history. While I will never know just what would have happened had the father walked in while we were praying together, I can’t help but be captivated by her desperately devout faith in Jesus.
What risks do I take with my faith? How safe do I play it? Who’s being impacted by what I believe? Does what I believe truly revolutionize how I behave? Who’s eternity has been altered because I’ve been faithful and obedient to God’s instructions in my life? And conversely, who’s eternity hasn’t been altered because I’ve been unfaithful and disobedient to God’s instructions in my life?