Meet Ali. He was one of our stupendous YWAM hosts while in Vancouver. His story is one that impacted me and my teammates so very powerfully as he shared from the heart. I won't disclose too much about his testimony as, first of all, it's his story to tell; but secondly, I don't want to put him in any undue danger.
His thankfulness to dwell in a country now where we are free to meet and worship together is boundless. He is grateful, passionate and delighted. Coming from a country where life and death are stark realities simply based upon whom you give your allegiance to, Canada is a breath of fresh air where we are free to dance, sing, pray, shout, cry, laugh, and pray.
Oh how much we take for granted!
Yet his story got me thinking. It is indeed a blessing to meet with fellow believers without fear of persecution. I have never been so afraid for my own life and those of the ones I love, while still trying to preach the Gospel in a country that would suppress Jesus Christ at all costs. Relocating here would seem like the utter destruction of fear.
But my own fear is that we have grabbed a hold of this blessing of freedom too much and now demand it as a right. I have said it before: no matter which country you live in, no matter what regime you live under, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, YOU ARE FREE. We Canadians experience political and social freedoms that aren't found in other countries, but that doesn't make believers in those countries any more or less truly free than us. All authority has been given to Christ in heaven and on earth. There is nothing that can deny Him that.
In countries where Christianity is persecuted, there is the fear of discovery, torture, arrest, death.
In Canada where Christianity is tolerated, there is apathy, selfishness and division.
Is this flat out across the board? No.
There are non-believers in harsh regimes who support Christians, just as there are passionate and devoted followers of Christ in apathetic countries.
But does anyone else besides myself find it sad that countries where Christ is suppressed are seeing more and more people flock to the Great Shepherd, while in our own free country… many are falling away and don't even know it? Some intentionally turn their backs, fed up with the way Christians live. Others simply are anesthetized into an unholy stupor thinking attending church each week and perhaps a small group or two creates for a transformed life. I don't like to think that it would take a gun to our heads to wake us up. Yet Jesus is taken for granted far too much, worldly supports relied on almost entirely, and the community of faith dwindles.
Do we even know Who we hold in our hands?