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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Favor in the Furnace

This morning I published a post about persecuted missionaries in Kenya.  Below is one scene from the post

Early in the ordeal, the Muslim men asked one of the women, “Who’s the saviour of this world?” When she boldly answered, “Jesus Christ is the Saviour,” they slapped and spat at her and shouted “You’re wrong, you prostitute, it’s Osama who’s the saviour.” When the group was finally released, they were told, “You’re lucky ... we’re directed to free you. We could have killed you this night. Maybe your Jesus saves you. But warning ... stop leading Muslims astray with your corrupt Bible. Nobody shall be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.”

Every time I read this my chest constricts.  I am overwhelmed with admiration and appreciation of the woman's boldness at the same time I am immensely saddened by the man's cruelty and ignorance.  But over all of that I am overjoyed at the Lord's presence in the midst of it all.  The Muslim men told the group, "You're lucky...we're directed to free you....Maybe your Jesus saves you."  Wow.  They didn't know how right they were.  This is what favor looks like.  Favor doesn't necessarily mean that life is going to be trouble free, but it guarantees that God will be with us even in the midst of trouble.  Hallelujah!  We have to quit thinking that our enemies can't bless us.  God's will can reach any place and any situation.  I am reminded of the story of Joseph.  God's favor was upon him even as a slave and a prisoner of Egypt (Genesis 37-50). 

The Muslims were indeed directed to free the missionaries, but not by the leader they imagined, but by a God they neither knew nor recognized.  Praise Jesus!  The bible says, "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord (Proverbs 21:1)."  When you are favored by God, He can cause anybody to bless you whether they like it, understand it, or even know about it or not.

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