It takes an extraordinary person to run into a burning building to save someone. But that is what firefighters do. They train extensively to know what to do and how to do it, but the moment of truth comes when, knowing that their life is on the line, they make the choice to go into the fiery chaos.
Everyone cheers when the firefighter steps out of the smoke with the victim who was saved from certain death. But it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes they don’t come back.
These are the emotions that were flooding through my mind when I received a message from one of our leaders, “I am now walking across the border into ______. Please pray for me.” The country he entered is in the Sahel region, which is the area between the Sahara Desert and the rest of Africa. Here, radical Muslims are in control, and the persecution and murder of Christians are common. Considering this fact, our leader will use his phone to video a goodbye to his family and leave the phone at home to avoid the risk of revealing his contacts should he be captured.
When I asked him, “Why did you go…” (thinking to myself, “Into the gates of Hell”)? He told me that elections were coming and that things may get worse. If this happened, he might lose all opportunity to coach the leaders, train new ones, encourage the disciples, and harvest the ripe fruit.
Then came the stories: The people are fed up with the hollow claims of Islam and are turning to Jesus. Those thrown in jail are leading other prisoners to faith. Leaders marked for death are rising up despite the risk. Intercessors are mobilizing against the persecution, and the harvest is multiplying!
I found myself inspired that in this “real world” situation, the promise of Scripture that says, “The gates of Hell shall not prevail” was proving true (Matthew 16:18). But the corresponding reality is, that as the gates yield, it is “hot as Hell” on the other side. Tragically, sometimes good people get hurt when they run in to set the captives free (Luke 4:18). By God’s grace, that didn’t happen this time.
As you think about those who are running towards the fire, thank God for them and pray for their safety. But also pray into the parable of the sower and the seeds (Matthew 13).
- Pray against the birds (the devil) stealing the seed (vs. 19).
- Pray against the heat (persecution) destroying the plant (vs. 20-21).
- Pray against the thorns (worldly cares) choking out the plant (vs. 22).
- Pray for good soil (prepared hearts) that yield 30, 60, and 100-fold (vs. 23).
Harry Brown, President of New Generations