The last newsletter from Voice of the Martyrs included the story of "John." He is the son of a muslim Taliban leader, and taught Islamic theology in his hometown. His father sent him on a hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca. While there he dreamed of a man with a shining white face and shining clothes. The man said that He could see that John was seeking after him and real faith was not in Mecca. He realized that as he performed the religious requirements, that is was not right. He dreamed again of the man in white who told him that he talked to him because he loved him. When he asked "Who are you?" the man told him that if he told him, he would have to accept seven losses: the Quran and Muhammad, his parents, his child, his relatives, his wealth and his home. He told "John" if he chose him, he would be hated and driven from his country. "John" asked for his name. The man told him, "I am your God, I am Jesus Christ." When he went home and told his father, his father locked him in a basement room for 18 months and beat him mercilessly. When released, he told his wife. She told him she had also had dreams and had become a follower of Jesus. Against his father's orders he told his mother and sisters. They became Christians. Eventually, his father and the Taliban leaders decided to kill him and his wife. His mother found out and gave him money to run and escape. Unfortunately, his father had their young son. When they escaped, they had to leave their son with his mother's promise to care for him.
They have been hunted, threatened and have had to move several times. In this process, his father killed their young two year old son, then killed his daughters and his wife. In spite of it all, "John" and his wife have become leaders of on online church that is reaching out to muslims and others. Many are becoming Christians and even returning to Afganistan to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. "John" preaches and shares Jesus with all he meets at a very high price to the natural eye. He gave up much. The price was great. "John" says he wants to work for God and wants people to see God. "I lost everything, so I want to tell people about Jesus. God said he had many houses in heaven; he needs people in them"
This story greatly impressed me to think about what I am willing to give up. What would I give up, if Jesus asked? I think we all struggle to let go of what our flesh, natural person thinks we need, especially here in America. We have a warped perception of what is "needed" to have a good life.
I think it is not a little thing we are to give. We are to give all. I think about in I Chronicles 21:18-27 and the story where David needed to give a sacrifice on the threshing floor of Onan. He told Onan he had to pay the full price for the land and the offering. Onan could not give it to him or for partial price. It had to be full price. God paid full price for us. We need to give back the full price.
I have not had a dream or vision of Jesus, but I have learned of him my entire life. I was raised in church and have read the Bible many times. I have had the understanding that God is real and died for my sins. But have I listened well enough to know when he may have asked me to give up something? Have I heard him say I would lose something in response to serving him? Have I accepted that loss with grace and peace only God gives in the midst of those circumstances? I want to say with all my heart that I am completely surrendered to God. I want to be completely surrendered to God. I am asking God to search me, change me and make me ready to accept and trust whatever he has for me. Even if the world around me may think it bad, strange, or unacceptable, I want to pay the full price. Completely.
The preacher A. W. Tozer said, "Look to no cost and fear no consequences."
Am I willing to pay the full price of serving my God and Savior, Jesus Christ?
A. W. Tozer also said, "It will cost you everything to follow the Lord. And it will cost you even more to be His man for this hour."
This song is right along with this thought and I wanted to share it with you. If you like, click the link below to hear:
I am completely surrenderingFinally giving You everything
You're my redeemer,
I run to the cross
Because You are more than enough
Lord complete me
Cause I'm Yours completely