News Articles

WORLDVIEW: Christians must not wait until it’s safe again

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–A year has marched silently by since that fearful day.

The world did not end, but continued to turn on its axis. The seasons changed. The shock began to fade, month by month, as the long funeral procession of trucks carried away the pulverized debris. The stages of grief waited their turn, patient debt collectors of the heart.

Time does not heal great loss. The pain can never be fully understood, only borne. Dylan Thomas knew that. When he wrote of the fiery death of a child during the Nazi blitz of London, the poet offered no explanations:

I shall not murder
The mankind of her going with a grave truth
Nor blaspheme down the stations of the breath
With any further
Elegy of innocence and youth.

Words alone are not worthy of the dead — or of the living God. But in a time of terror, obedience is.

Ordinary Londoners — adults, youths, children — became heroes by refusing to despair or cower before the Nazis’ relentless terror bombing. When even rumors of terror since Sept. 11 have frightened many Americans into mental prisons of “safety,” should Christians do any less?

“Fear and caution should never dictate how we respond to the Great Commission, or influence us to make our world smaller than the one Jesus died to save,” says Bill Cashion, who directs the Southern Baptist International Mission Board’s volunteer office. “Terrorism and war do not dictate a believer’s job description. We cannot wait to go until the world becomes what we would like it to be — pleasant and safe. If we do, we will never go.”

Teens and young adults remain eager to go on mission, IMB enlistment specialists say. But concerned parents have had second thoughts about their children venturing abroad in dangerous times.

I had the privilege in May, however, of watching a group of parents pray with their college-age sons and daughters who were preparing to fly to a Muslim country on a volunteer trip. Tears flowed from several parents’ eyes as the students departed, but they were tears of excitement and joy, not anxiety. Their faithfulness paid off:

“Even before we landed, God was drawing people to him,” the student who led the team said. “He allowed me to witness to a Muslim lady who sat next to me during the flight. It was exciting how God prompted her to ask about my faith. She was so intrigued by the concept of knowing him in a personal way. She invited us to visit with her in her home, which we later did.

“God planted a seed in her heart,” the student said — a seed “that will continue to grow.”

    About the Author

  • Erich Bridges