The stories relayed from the HOB missionaries in Syria and Iraq oftentimes seem to be perfect application of the teachings of Jesus 2000 years ago. The faith of these missionaries is incredible and their trust in His faithfulness is unwavering. The story told here is one that can build our faith and our trust in Him. It applies the truth that He taught in John 14 to actual people and actual events in our current day. And it encourages each of us to incorporate that truth into our own lives.
By God’s grace, each of the HOB missionaries has necessarily been conformed to John 14:1, Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” So this week when Mufidah and seven others of the Widow Sisterhood were ministering to injured victims of the ongoing fighting in Northern Syria, they would have known where to place their trust. In the midst of their efforts to find and help any injured, they found themselves caught in the crossfire of a deadly battle between Syrian rebels and Assad’s forces along with Hezbollah fighters. With no protective shelter and nowhere to run, they did the only thing they could do. They prayed, trusted in God, and waited for Him to answer. As Mufidah prayed for direction, the Lord pointed out a stick of wood and instructed Mufidah to trace a line on the ground around the group of women, then just trust Him. She did so, and for approximately 30 minutes, the women stayed within the area of that protective line as the fighting continued. With shooting all around them, not one of the eight women was struck. Mufidah described to Pastor R that it was as though they were protected by an invisible and seemingly impenetrable bubble.
When the fighting ceased, approximately 40 fighters lay dead or dying. The women quickly went to search for any of the surviving among those 40 but found only three men who were still alive, though, it was apparent that they would not survive. Knowing these men would soon face eternity, the women presented the Good News to each of them in its simplest form: Repent, turn to God through his Son, and be saved!
One of those men, by the name of Jamal, was the military commander. Like so many before him, on hearing of the love of the One True God for him personally, he declared that he saw no way that this God of Love would forgive him. He said that he had killed at least 100 others and that he knew there was no hope for him. Mufidah told him that if he was sincere and prayed from his heart, God would receive his repentance and he would be forgiven, his sins blotted out.
Finally, Jamal accepted what Mufidah was telling him. He repented and confessed Yeshua as his Lord. In doing so, he experienced the peace that is promised to all who call on the Name of Jesus. Jamal was astonished because he had had no true peace for a long time. He could not find rest because he would see the faces of those he had killed coming before him in his sleep. But now, he was at peace and he recognized the truth of the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. At the same time, the other two men who were still clinging to life, accepted the free gift of salvation as the women ministered to them. Three men were brought from spiritual death to spiritual life!
But all three men were still mortally wounded and, as we learned the next day, none of them survived. However, before he died, Jamal gave Mufidah a packet of money that was intended to pay the soldiers under his command. Since all of his men had been killed in the firefight, Jamal told her to use the money for HOB needs. This money is being used to purchase 4 lorries of wheat to feed refugees, with the continued prayer that sharing food along with the love of God will reap a great harvest for the Kingdom.
So, this story brings us back to Jesus’ words in John 14, this time nearing the end of the chapter where he again exhorts us to not let our hearts be troubled: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
As you consider the facts of this story of Mufidah and the widows, Jamal and the two soldiers, try to imagine yourself in that same reality. Imagine standing with the widows, trusting Him, not afraid, heart untroubled. Imagine caring deeply for the eternity of a dying stranger guilty of great sin. Pray that your personal trust in God and your experience of His peace will grow. Pray again for all the HOB Missionaries in Syria and Iraq. Pray for their continued protection. Pray for increase in every resource needed to advance the Gospel while the fields are still ripe for harvest. Pray for peace that passes understanding for us all!
He delights to answer those prayers!