“Greater Love Hath No Man”
There are stories and then there are stories. Some are forgotten not long after they are read. Then there are the stories you find yourself going over again and again in your mind. So many times in the last two years I have tried to imagine myself in some of the stories that have been told to us by our contact with House of Blessing in the Middle East and I could only hope that I would have the same strong faith as those in these stories have. It is a sobering thought.
In the first week of August 2014, I received word of an event involving Brother Omar and his family. I had had a very brief conversation with Omar over the phone a few months ago as he was setting out to oversee most of the work of House Of Blessing in Iraq. Omar is in a location where there is a mixture of peoples and belief systems. The population is heavily Muslim, both Shia and Sunni, as well as some other lesser known sects. Many of the Sunni Muslims are members of the ISIS terrorist army but the Iraqi army is also in the area. In the middle of everyone, there are those who are Christians, including Omar and his wife.
Recently Omar and his wife suffered the devastating and unexplained loss of their 12-month old baby boy who died after a sudden, unknown illness. Even though they are painfully familiar with death and dying with unbelievable frequency, the loss of a child is particularly dreadful and painful to any parent. But while grieving the loss of their son, Omar heard a scream for help and he saw a man on the road bloodied from having been shot. It was easy to see that the man was badly injured and so he pulled him off of the road and took him into his own tent.
He and his wife tried to attend to the man’s wounds. However, the injured man recognized Omar and tried to stop them, horrified that they would do anything at all to help him! He said if they knew who he was and what he had done, they would rather want to kill him! As they tried to respond to this surprising reaction, they learned that this man was a commissioned officer in the Iraqi army and had been watching Omar for some time. He knew that Omar was a Christian, an infidel in his eyes. He had decided that rather than killing Omar outright he would torture him in a different way by attacking his family, thus causing great fear among the believers whom Omar was leading…
This Iraqi officer was horrified when he found out that the man and woman whom he had targeted to make an example of were the very ones that pulled him off the road and saved him from certain death. The officer confessed to Omar that he had ordered his wife to see to it that the milk that Omar bought for his child was poisoned. This officer was responsible for the death of Omar’s son and now Omar held his life in his hands! The Iraqi officer refused to allow Omar and his wife to pray for him because of what he had just admitted to the child’s grieving parents who had buried their baby only days earlier.
As Brother Omar and his wife faced the horrid revelation of how and why their infant child had died, they had a huge decision—one that many have had to make; do we forgive or do we take advantage of the situation at hand? Maybe God brought this killer and his wife into our hands so that we can get revenge? Try putting yourselves in their shoes! What would be your answer?
Omar and his wife decided there is nothing more important than to forgive! Likely this man’s life was on the line, but more importantly, his eternal destiny was at stake. They decided to forgive. They decided to forgive this man whether he accepted it or not! Somehow they convinced the Iraqi office of their genuine forgiveness and he allowed them to pray for him. As they prayed, our God healed him completely!
Then, Omar and his wife asked to pray for the officer’s wife who huddled in the corner of the tent. She however furiously rejected the offer in the strongest terms, extending her arms in their direction in rejection, saying, NO, NO, NO! As she did so, her skin turned yellow and she fell dead right in front of them! What a tragedy when forgiveness and healing were offered so freely!
God gave Omar and his wife the capacity to forgive the man and woman who did this terrible thing. Was it not Jesus Christ that prayed on the cross for the Father to forgive His killers because they really didn’t know the full extent of what they were doing? Isn’t this the same Messiah that said that we should not only love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, but our neighbor as ourselves?
These are not just the “good” people, but also the confused, and also those motivated by evil. Islam teaches hate. Lots of hate. The way to gain favor with Allah is to hate and murder. The way, for instance, for a woman to find “forgiveness” when she has been raped—regardless of her innocence–, is to strap on a suicide bomb vest and blow herself up in a crowded area of innocent people! This teaching, to hate with such a hellish passion, comes from the fallen Lucifer, who hates the human race with a hatred we humans can’t even comprehend!
But, as a result of this Heaven-sent intersection in time, this Iraqi army officer was led in a prayer of repentance to the real Messiah, Jesus Christ. After he had prayed and made Jesus Lord of his life, the 20 soldiers who were directly under his supervision did the same! These men will affect their own family groups with what they saw and what they personally experienced! This means that potentially 250 people are now introduced to the real Messiah.
With such a wonderful story to pass on to you, I would ask you to please keep these people in your prayers. Financial support is also so very crucial. I repeat a promise that God made to us at the very beginning of this project. He said that every single Bible would bear fruit; in fact, each Bible would bear MUCH fruit! After hundreds of thousands of former Muslims finding Christ as their Savior and Lord, I know that God has certainly held up His end of the deal! We are invited to partner with Him in this final Harvest and I thank each and every one of you that has helped in this effort!
God Bless You All,