Trusting Her to God
“Save others by snatching them from the fire…” ~Jude 1:23
“What’s this?” she said as she picked up my anchor wax seal from my desk.
“Oh that is what I use to seal the envelope after I write someone a letter,” I responded.
“Wow….you write letters?” she asked with eyes full of wonder.
“Yes, I love to.”
“Will you sign your name on a piece of your paper for me?” she asked me.
“Better yet, I’ll write you a real letter,” I promised her.
Knowing that the following day would be our final goodbye, I sat at my desk and asked the Lord to give me the words to write. Pushing fear aside, I wrote what I knew she needed to hear in another attempt to snatch her from the fire. I wrote of Jesus and His perfect sacrifice. I reminded her that only Jesus can give her hope when she despairs; joy when she grieves; peace when she is anxious; courage when she fears; and that He is the one and only Way to know God intimately on this earth and in the life to come. I told her that God loves her and that I pray she finds Truth. I told her that if she truly asks God to show her what is True, that He will.
I folded up what was merely a summary of all that I had explained to her verbally, and slid it into a brown paper envelope.
I lit the wax and watched as the fire flickered and the wax dripped slowly on the paper…
I picked up the stamp that she once ran her fingers over, and as I pressed the anchor into the blood-red wax, I begged God to draw the girl who would receive this letter to Himself, marking her in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” ~Ephesians 1:13
I saw the anchor in the red wax and I remembered the blood of Christ which is the only way to Life and I prayed that the girl would follow Jesus, placing her hope in Him – a hope that anchors firm and secure.
And then the following day arrived…..
I opened the door of a mustard yellow taxi, but just before I got in, I looked one last time into the dark brown eyes of the girl 12 years my junior who had spent the afternoon with her arm locked through mine, walking and eating and spending our last moments together before our paths were split by the Divine’s sovereignty.
Yes, with her arm clutching tightly to mine, we walked with the call to prayer as our backdrop and men kneeling in Friday prayer to a false god – or a misunderstood God- on either side of the sidewalk we walked on. The daughter of Light, being held onto by the prisoner of dark, walking Spirit-led through the empty-prayer nothingness that I know my secret prayers valiantly filled.
I was praying for her eyes to be opened.
I was praying for her ears to hear Him.
I was praying for her salvation.
I was praying that I could love her well.
I was praying that God would give me hope because honestly I was teetering on the edge of hope and despair imagining where this beautiful one’s eternal resting place would be.
This girl. This girl who covers her head and dresses conservatively and who I used to be scared to talk to, is still just a girl. A regular person who needs Jesus. I will not let this prisoner of the enemy’s brainwashing go to hell without fighting with all the weapons of righteousness I know I possess through the Rescuer’s spilled blood and victorious resurrection.
Some days are hard living cross culturally and there are many times I seem to fumble over how to explain the basics of who Jesus is and why we need Him. But, when I allow myself to contemplate the mystery of what an eternity separated from God would be like, horror-filled emotions surge through my weary heart and I cannot bear the thought of wasting time and knowledge that is meant to be shared with those who have yet to be transferred to His Kingdom of Light.
The girl who held tightly to my arm – we have different backgrounds and different beliefs. But we have mutual affection and paths that were crossed by the Creator of all things.
Our paths crossed and He highlighted her as one to pursue. But just like that – with the bat of an eye – she and I stood face-to-face one last time, hoping to see each other at some point down the road, all the while knowing that it may never be in His will.
As the taxi driver waited, I hugged her one last time, hearing her echoing words that I am the first person to ever hug her. Ever.
The girl who had only moments before gently reciprocated my embrace and told me I am the same as a mom to her, held pressed against her heart, the letter I had thoughtfully and prayerfully composed. I slipped it into her hands and as she held it, she released a deep sigh, full of emotional gratitude. She was surprised that I wrote her a letter and excitedly said that she would save it to read once she arrived in her new home.
Butterflies filled my stomach as I thought about the bold statements in the letter.
Was the letter going to be instrumental in her future salvation? Would it be the very thing that offends her and makes her turn her back on our friendship?
During training prior to moving overseas, one of our teachers said “Discipleship will break your heart.” My how this is proving to be true in some cases.
I said one last goodbye, telling her I loved her, and closed the taxi door.
That moment was difficult.
It was joyful sorrow.
I was acutely aware of the grief I felt over her lack of response to my sharing of the Good News with her over the last year but yet so grateful for the opportunity and intrigued why out of all these people, He chose her to hear.
This spiritual mothering of her, if you will, has not been easy. We have ridden buses together and learned language together. We have walked together and we have grocery shopped together. We have welcomed her into our home where we have colored with our children together and prepared meals together. We have invited her to our dinner table and shared stories from the Bible with her. And although she has never showed interest in accepting the Truth, she has listened intently and she has noticed something different in our family.
This girl – the one who has shared stories of bombs going off while she walked to school as a child and memories like the time she opened her door only to see a rocket launcher pointed directly at her – has now heard the Truth.
And now she is gone.
God only gave me a brief opportunity to speak Life to her and when the time came, He closed the door.
As I rode off in the taxi and watched her grow small in the distance, I ached for her. Survivor guilt-like ache with questions like “why me, God? Why have you saved me out of all these billions who have yet to hear?” But then it hit me. Survivor guilt. Because of her rejection of His grace in the short time I lived in the same city as her, I only saw her as hopeless. I saw her as dead, or rather as headed for eternal death. I saw her future destruction in contrast to my future salvation and I felt hopelessness. I was bothered by questions that will remain a mystery on earth of why God has revealed Himself to me and called me into His fold and yet seems to not have made Himself known to this girl.
In essence, I was obeying God by glorifying Him where He has placed me, proclaiming the story of Christ to the girl He had entrusted to me briefly, but then I was failing to then entrust her back to the only One who is able to save her. I am merely a messenger. I am not a savior.
“For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. As it is written in the Scriptures,‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.” ~John 6:44-45
How can I cast a vision of hope over a girl when I am hopeless that she’ll ever turn to Christ? How can I remain joyful in sharing and loving when guilt of my own blessed salvation among millions who walk in darkness distracts me. This guilt is not from the Father and I must never forget that. How can I expect to see miracles happen if I dare not believe that my faith can tell this mountain of her belief in Islam to move and expect to see it move? How can I find peace if I carry the heavy burden of others’ salvation that was never supposed to be mine?
And so, after the first goodbye of a girl I have been sharing with on the field, I am learning the lesson of trusting others’ salvation to the One who is the Author and perfecter of our faith. With this transient lifestyle, I know she was the first of more goodbyes to come. I seek to snatch every girl He places in front of me from the fire, praying against the enemy snatching the truth they hear from their minds, and trusting in God’s beautiful and timeless promise that no one will ever snatch any of His children from His hand.
SNATCH: 726. ἁρπάζω harpázō; fut. harpásō, aor. pass. hērpásthēn, 2d aor. pass. hērpágēn. To seize upon, spoil, snatch away. In Class. Gr., the fut. pass. harpázomai is used more often than in the NT. Literally, to seize upon with force, to rob; differing from kléptō (2813), to steal secretly. It denotes an open act of violence in contrast to cunning and secret stealing. Though generally harpázō denotes robbery of another’s property, it is not exclusively used thus, but sometimes used generally meaning forcibly to seize upon, snatch away, or take to oneself (Matt. 13:19; John 6:15; 10:12, 28, 29; Acts 23:10; Jude 1:23). Especially used of the rapture (Acts 8:39; 2 Cor. 12:2, 4; 1 Thess. 4:17; Rev. 12:5); to use force against one (Matt. 11:12). ~Spiros Zodhiates
“Save others by snatching them from the fire…” ~Jude 1:23
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.” John 10:27-29
(Read: The Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:1-23) “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” ~Matthew 13:19-23
Will you rely on His power through you to seek and seize others for Christ, all the while trusting the results to the Lord? The wayward child? The unbelieving spouse? The best friend? The millions that I see from our bedroom window?
Will you pray with hope-filled faith for their hearts to be good soil so that they will be snatched from fire into the invincible grip of the Father?