Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Given A White Robe

In 1994 Arwen and I were convinced it was time to go. We had been committed to going and serving overseas since we got married to each other and now it was time, but where? We prayed about it and settled on Middle Earth because it was completely unreached and the doors were just coming open there. So, I wrote to our Agency and asked for job requests from the region. Arwen and I read and prayed through forty different requests but the one for Team Leader for Minas Tirith in Gondor blew us away. It was the greatest opportunity ever, a dream job. If anyone else read this request it would snatched up immediately! So, I called the Agency headquarters and talked to the secretary for the region. I told her that we didn’t have all of our paperwork in yet but we had to reserve that job somehow. I will never forget her words. ‘Middle Earth? No one wants to go to Middle Earth!’ A year later we were on our way.

In 1999 we went on our first homeleave and we met the secretary at our debriefing conference. I reminded her of her words and she said she could not believe she would have said such a thing- I assure you she did. At the conference she played the piano and taught us all a new song (I forget the author) that always reminds me of her whenever we sing it.

Our heart, Our desire, is to see the nations worship.

Our cry, our prayer, is to sing your praise to the ends of the earth.

That with one mighty voice, every tribe and tongue rejoices.

Our heart, our desire, is to see the nations worship you.

A few years later- after being secretary for our region for many years she heeded her own words and came out to a different country in Middle Earth. She learned the language, the culture, and most of all she learned to love the people in extraordinary ways. She glowed with the love of Jesus and everyone who ever met her was struck by her grace. Yesterday we heard unconfirmed reports that she has been killed after a several week ordeal. Security forbids me to say anymore. Likely, even hopefully, you will never hear her story this side of eternity. You will not know of the great sister who has laid down her life for the Kingdom of God.

There are a lot of mixed feelings about martyrs. In our Western society it has become a negative word, a word to describe misguided people. Some in Church who do understand the word still don’t like it. For too many of us the old enemy death has not lost his sting. We cling to ideas of loss forgetting our faith. Our hearts have not caught up with our heads. Revelation gives us a different perspective. In chapter 6:9-11 we see:

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth? Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

I grieve that I will not see my friend again this side of eternity but I do not mourn her loss. She has been given a white robe and is now at rest. She will be honored throughout eternity for her service to her Father. She has laid down her life not just for her friends but for her enemies as well. I believe it was because she had such grace and character as the Lord had put into her that He honored her by allowing her to be a sacrifice for the people she was sent to serve. I am sorry you can not know more about her to honor her and learn from her. Just know that the Father is raising up many like her to swell the numbers of His Kingdom until it truly does have no end. Heaven will be truly glorious as it radiates with the splendor of men, women, and children who reflect the glory of our God for all eternity. She is no longer in the battle. Who will stand in the gap she leaves?

7 comments:

David Rogers said...

Strider,

Thanks for letting us know about this. It is very sobering. And, it is somewhat frustrating to not be able to talk and share more openly about this. It is also inspiring. We must cling to the hope that our Father has his plans to use this for his glory, and to advance his plans to "see the nations worship."

My comfort in this is found in clinging to the promise that: "For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad," and the hope that one day we will all be together around the throne of the Lamb, "with one mighty voice...from every tribe and tongue." We will hold hands with each other, and we will know even as we are known, and we will rejoice, knowing that it was worth it all.

My prayers and heartfelt condolences and encouragement go out to you, and the rest our fellow servants there in Middle Earth during this time. Thank you for your obedience and faithfulness.

Cindy said...

I have been reading your blog for a little while and find it fascinating. My family and I are going to N. Africa in His service this fall.
In reading, I can't help but wonder where you are. But please be careful - your comments today and reading the news are not so hard to connect for those of us who pay attention to such things. God bless you richly for your work, for loving those you serve, and for the glory of His precious name.
My heart goes out to those who loved this dear lady who is now gone from this earthly existence. I weep for those who will feel this loss deeply, but rejoice for her homecoming.

Tim Patterson said...

Strider,

Our church prayed for her when we first heard of the incident and now we grieve to hear about the outcome. Our thoughts and prayers go out these days for family and friends.

Strider said...

There are conflicting reports that she may be still alive. It is frustrating to know how to feel and what to do. For my part I don't believe that she is alive but we will continue to pray for her until her situation is confirmed.

Thanks to all who are praying.

ghan buri ghan said...

loose lips sink ships

'nuff said

be said...

From Cindy "But please be careful - your comments today and reading the news are not so hard to connect for those of us who pay attention to such things."
Please do heed these wise words. Thanks.

Strider said...

I appreciate the several voices of concern. I informed my regional leadership about this post when I put it up and so far they have not asked me to take it down- if they ask I will. In the meantime keep praying.