Photo by Anja
Over the Easter holiday, I was privileged to be a part of OM EAST’s 50th anniversary celebration. A ministry that is now mainly working with media and literature but once was the starting point for people taking great risks smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain (Curious? Read more here).
As we entered the room, the sense of nostalgia in the air was obvious: seeing people again after many years, greeting good friends, reliving the stories they experienced together so many years ago. The room was filled with heroes who risked their lives to bring Bibles to people who could not access them; who distributed thousands upon thousands of Bibles and people who stood strong in their faith – even if they were to face persecution.
Most of the stories were told by people from an older generation than mine. Those people were the heroes in a war that was over before I was even born. And yet, all these years later, they were still recounting the details as if it was yesterday, their eyes lit up as they relived the excitement of crossing borders and entering dangerous territories.
I do not have stories like that to tell. Living in a Europe where I can travel with only an ID card, I cannot imagine what it was like to cross these same borders and not know if I would be able to come back. Living in a world where my name is out there for people to read, I cannot imagine what it was like for people to disguise their identity for their safety in a place not too far away from where I live.
Not all places today are as safe as the one I am living in. Many people still have to disguise their identity today. Many people still have to stand in faith against opposition. Many people still have to cross dangerous borders. In a few years, when my hair has turned gray and the wrinkles on my skin show off the years I spent on this planet, I might join together with people and hear about the heroic deeds they did in the times I live in now. Some of these stories, we already get to hear. Some of those heroes, I already have had the privilege of meeting.
But the world needs many more heroes. It needs people who are willing to go without knowing whether they will come back. We need risk-takers who step out and face the difficulty of opposition because it is the right thing to do. We need people who go out and cross difficult borders because God’s name needs to be proclaimed. These borders might not be physical. The difficulties might look different. But they are still there, they are still difficult and they still need to be crossed.
From afar, this is frightening. Thinking about the possibilities, the difficulties, the danger, the struggles, I do not want to go there. Maybe I will never be called there. But I know that all those who are called, they will be prepared. Just like Joshua, they will be ready when it is the time, and when it is, God commands us to “...be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
So I pray that you and I will have the wisdom to see these borders and have the courage to break through them.