Googling Jesus

Faiz, Who Learned the Cost of Following Christ

<p class="chapter-lead">During his third phone call, he was ready to make the dangerous decision to following Jesus.</p>

The teaching of Jesus continues to powerfully transform lives in the Middle East, just as it has since the days of His first followers. We can rejoice in how the good news is changing hard hearts in the Arab world and enabling people to follow the Messiah despite great personal risk.

Zealous for God

Faiz spewed hate and insults down the phone into the ear of Khalil, a member of the Arab World Media response team. After ranting for some time, he finally paused to breathe. The team member took advantage of the break to say, “You are very zealous for God. I am sure He appreciates the zeal you have for Him. God is looking for people like you. You are special.”

That response surprised Faiz. “Why aren’t you insulting me?”

“Because I am a Christian, and Christ calls us to love all people,” replied Khalil.

Looking for a Way Out

Faiz listened as Khalil shared the gospel with him. As Faiz heard about the God who loved him enough to come and die for him, the battle-hardened ISIS fighter broke down in tears.

<blockquote class="chapter-block-quote">“Please pray for me. I’m stuck here with ISIS, and I can’t find a way out. I hate what I’m doing and I can’t take it anymore. I want to escape, but I don’t know how. Please don’t call me, as everyone here watches everyone else, and if they found out that I’m listening to you, they would kill me. When I get a moment alone, I will call you and listen to what you have for me.”</blockquote>

A Dangerous Decision

From time to time, Faiz secretly called the media response team.

During his third phone call, he was ready to make the dangerous decision of following Jesus. He committed his eternal destiny to Christ, knowing the immediate risks that this would involve.

A few weeks later, the team received this shocking and chilling text message from Faiz’s phone:

“I killed Faiz last night because I found out that he had left Islam for Christianity. Muad”

Muad was another ISIS fighter. It was likely that Faiz had chosen not to deny his Savior when confronted about his new faith, and paid the ultimate price.

Although Faiz’s life was tragically cut short, his story of redemption powerfully portrays the living words of Jesus:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)

Praise God that in the midst of violence and hatred, the love of Christ is still able to reach people like Faiz. Pray for God’s living Word to impact even more fighters, leading them to sacrificially follow Jesus and leave the way of violent Islam espoused by groups like ISIS.


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