The Shofar: Pivot Point

Written by Dango

I believe that as believers we all have pivotal points in our lives.  They can either be very personal or general experiences.  These experiences affect our hearts and minds to the extent that we make changes in our lives.  They can often lead to a deeper understanding of certain aspects of our lives.

Personally I have experienced three major pivotal points while in the country I was called to serve in, in the Middle East.  The moment I am talking about in this Shofar really spoke directly to my heart and changed the way I was thinking about my calling.  It challenged me to the point that I had to re-think why I am doing what I am doing.  I do not think that I have ever been so acutely aware of how exposed I was in front of the Lord Jesus as at that moment.
You see sometimes we do “things” or are called; and we do not have a full understanding of what we are actually doing or why we are actually doing it.  It could be that our hearts are not in the “right” place; our motives might not be as pure as we think them to be.  It might be that we, to a certain extent, operate in the flesh when we do “things” that we are called to do.  Meaning that we don’t tap into what God can do but only rely on what we can see and know.

It was in the beginning years of smuggling bibles into the Middle East.  We were in the South of a specific country and met with local believers.  They requested “books” as their need were desperate.  The next year we went to the same country.  Arrangements were made for someone to collect books in the capital city of that country.  The plan was to collect the books then travel to the South and drop the books off in the city in the South.  For some unknown reason, the pre-arranged plan never worked out and we were stuck in the capital city without any books to take to the South.  Frustrated and confused, I could not imagine the believers’ disappointment if we arrived in the South without any books.

I told my friend that I know a believer in the capital city and that I will go and ask him for books.  I left alone in a taxi on my way in search of my brother.  After about four hours I was in his house.  Our hearts were filled with joy as I was re-united with my brother Mohammad.  He offered me the customary tea and then a huge lunch followed.  We really had a good time together as we exchanged stories.  Keep in mind that Mohammed and I are very close.  We share a special bond.  A bond that brothers would share.  I was there with him when he committed his life to Jesus two years before.

After lunch we had tea again and after our short midday rest, Mohammed asked me why I came to visit him.  I told him my predicament and that I didn’t have any books to take to the South and asked whether or not he was able to assist.  I knew I was breaking my own protocol of not involving local believers when moving or smuggling books.  Mohammed disappeared into his room and came out with a bag of books.  My heart leapt with joy and I was very grateful.  Mohammed handed me the bag, but as I took it from him he did not release the bag.  A bit confused, with the bag of books hanging between us, I looked at him in silence and he looked straight into my eyes for a couple of seconds with his beautiful dark loving eyes.  A very serious expression etched in his face.  When he spoke I knew I had to listen.
He said: “Dango, we as believers are prepared to lose our lives for these books, are you prepared to lose your life for these books if you are caught?”  To be honest, I was a bit paralyzed - contemplating his question.  All I said was:  “Yes.”  Not fully understanding what he just told me.  Not releasing the bag of books, he continued and his next words impacted me even more.
He said:  “Dango, if you do get caught with these books, promise me that you will admit to being guilty and then ask the authorities to hang you immediately without any trail.”  Apparently there is a law that if you admit to guilt without any trail, they must hang you immediately.  I was in complete shock by now.  I looked at him with the facial expression that screamed:  “WHY WOULD I DO THAT?”  Very calmly he explains that the authorities would torture me.  They would ensure that I was in constant unbelievable excruciating pain in order to get any information out of me.  I promised him and left his house with the bag of books.  A couple of days later we successfully made to the city in the South with the bag of books, where we distributed them.

John 21: 15 – 17: Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me.
This pivotal moment truly challenged with the question of:  “How much I truly do love Jesus?” The Father loved me so much that He gave His Son.  The Son loved me so much that He was willing to suffer unbearably and give His life.  I came to the understanding that it can only be born out of what He did for me on the cross personally and the Father’s love for me personally by sacrificing HIS SON JESUS for me.

You see that if we base our love for the Lord Jesus Christ on our abilities, “things” we do, or our own feelings; we will at some point fail Him when “things” get difficult.  At the end of the day it’s all about our hearts.

Shalom and Grace
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