“I can’t believe your wife let you go!”
This was the common refrain when I told people that I was going to the Middle East to meet with persecuted Christians.
To be honest, I couldn’t believe she let me go either! And I was secretly hoping that she’d say “No” and I’d be able to say “Sorry, I’d love to come but my wife isn’t keen on the idea.”
But I couldn’t use this as my excuse, and I then had to wrestle with the decision for myself – should I choose to get on a plane, and fly to a part of the world that the Australian government has said:
”…because of the extremely volatile and dangerous security situation. Australians…should depart immediately while commercial flights continue to operate.”
Am I crazy?
Am I irresponsible?
Am I foolish?
These questions plagued me, and in an email to the team leader shortly before we left, I wrote:
“I’m keen to meet with persecuted Christians. But do I need to do this in somewhere as dangerous as this? There’s lots of other places that I could go that would be less risky (for me and my family).”
“While I’m trusting God, I’m just concerned about being reckless or putting myself in unnecessary danger. I’d like to think (pray) that if I needed to do something dangerous for God, He would give me courage. But I’m wrestling with the idea of willing choosing a dangerous circumstance.”
But I decided to go.
“You’re an embarrassment to be around.”
“Please don’t walk next to me – I don’t want people to know that we’re together.”
These are painful words that no one ever wants to hear. But does my life speak these words to Jesus?
This is the question that has troubled me since my first day visiting persecuted Christians in the Middle East with Open Doors.