Unexpected Opportunity from Tragedy?

America is at war against terrorists in Afghanistan. Not because the nation of Afghanistan attacked the United States, but ostensibly because the brains behind the terrible attach on New York and the Pentagon resides in Afghanistan.

The U.S. never recognized the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Perhaps if America recognized the Taliban government in Afghanistan to be legitimate we would have presented to that legitimate government evidence than Osama Bin Laden was guilty in the conspiracy carried out on September 11 and since. But perhaps because the government was not considered legitimate, we excused ourselves from the usual obligations and went to war to extract the terrorist organizers.

European countries and Israel refuse to extradite criminals to the USA when they choose to resist American capital punishment. We don't go to war over this against countries with legitimate governments. The U.S believes that all countries have an obligation to release criminals to us. But while elsewhere we merely protest, in Afghanistan we exercise little restraint!

Christian missionaries have never really entered Afghanistan. When I was a teenager in the 1960s I heard appeals to become a missionary at camp-meetings. I thought that I wanted to be a missionary. And Afghanistan is where I thought I wanted to go... I wanted to go there because it was an unentered country. And I wanted to go there because when all countries have been entered, Jesus will come.  Matthew 24:14 (NKJV) . Well, today two American missionaries suffer in prison in Afghanistan because they were accused of sharing their faith. They along with other missionaries from elsewhere were assisting in providing aid to the impoverished in Afghanistan. They thought that they followed the laws prohibiting evangelism by explaining their faith only when asked.

But these Christian missionaries came with printed leaflets and tapes to give to interested Afghans. The missionaries were arrested along with many Afghans before the September 11 bombing. They have not come to trial yet. They are not permitted to bring up a defense according to Western customs. Parents did visit but had to leave. The official sentence for their alleged crime is death. It is believed that the local Afghans will certainly die and may have already. It was believed that the western missionaries would be expelled after their trial. The trial as far as I am aware has been indefinitely postponed.

Perhaps American special forces have liberated these Americans by now. I haven't heard... Delivered on Thursday, November 15, 2001! which is two weeks after posting this story. But their plight was not the reason for the Afghanistan invasion.

I receive the Mission Insider email report. I received one today, October 23, 2001. The leadoff article quotes Daoud Abdullah about his experiences as a refugee in an unnamed location. Abdullah experiences Christian kindness at his camp. He wonders why Christian foreigners so willingly help him when fellow Muslims don't. He previously thought that all Europeans and Americans were Christians like all Afghans and Arabs are Muslim. But he is learning that Christianity doesn't come from nationality but from a personal faith.

Abdullah is quoted as saying:

"We have always believed that Jesus never died. According to the Koran, Godwould not allow evil men to kill his holy prophet, so Jesus was taken up to heaven and some other man was crucified instead. But now I have seen in the Book that God did allow Jesus to be crucified and then raised him from the dead. So now I can understand how someone who believes Jesus died for him would be willing to give his own life to help others who are in need."

Now that he has met Christians and betters knows them Abdullah then says,

"When we go back, we are going to make sure that Christians are welcome to live and worship inside Afghanistan."

This welcoming of Christians would open up Afganistan for perhaps the first time in history. I wonder, "Did God specifically permit the attack in order to open up Afghanistan?" No, God didn't wish the deaths of almost 6000 people. God did not cause this suffering. But God moves his hand to both prevent and to permit evil according to his purpose. I believe that God generally works to protect Americans: Partly because of America's roll in prophesy. And partly because America, while not without grievous faults, reaches out to those in need more often that most other nations do so. God may have protected many even this time. News reports at first feared up to 50,000 dead. And it seems to me that the hijacked planes were less than full, or if full, smaller than many commercial jets. The government believes that other hijackings were planned that day but not carried out. God may have withdrawn his protecting hand, but the shadow of his hand may have prevented worse disaster.

God works in mysterious ways. In 1991 it was time for Russia to become open to the good news! Is it now time for Afghanistan? Will even the few remaining unentered nations finally receive the joyful news of a loving and redeeming God?

May I, a teenager in the 1960s, never see death and ascend with Jesus to heaven? Other signs fall into place today and periodically have come together in the past. But this one referencing "every tribe and nation" has always been the obstacle. We've begun to think that radio, television, the internet might be the medium for salvation in other countries. Abraham thought that he could assist God in the fulfilling of the promise when he thought that Isaac might never be born. In order to assist God, we have thought substitutes might hasten Christ's return. But perhaps personal ministry is the essence of the promise. It appears that we may be able to minister in person even to the Afghans.

My mother thought she would go to heaven without the chance to marry. Instead, she died in her 70s more than ten years ago. Jesus' 2nd coming wasn't quite that close for her. Now I have been married for 32 years. My daughter is married. But might my 8 year old granddaughter and 3 year old grandson return with Jesus to heaven without being old enough to marry? Might they literally "grow up in heaven?"

We may be a bit apprehensive during these troubled times. But it's exciting too, isn't it?