Last week I read through a book called Dispatches from the Front – Stories of Gospel Advance in the World’s Difficult Places. The book follows Tim Keesee as he travels the world, telling stories of the bold faith and sacrificial bravery that many of our brothers and sisters portray as they face challenges for being Christians.
The truth is that our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world – Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America often face persecution and challenges at the hands of their governments and/or neighbors. Thinking about the challenges they face can surely be discouraging yet we know that the gospel is moving rapidly in these “impossible” and “hard” places. Samuel Zwemer, an early 20th century missionary to Islamic countries and professor of missions at Princeton Seminary reminds of this fact, that no situation is impossible for the Lord:
The Kingdoms and the governments of this world have frontiers which must not be crossed, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ knows no frontier. It has never been kept within bounds. It is a message for the whole race, and the very fact that there are millions of souls who have never heard the message becomes the strongest of reasons why we must carry it to them. Every year we hear of further advance into these regions of the world by commerce, by travelers, by men of science. If they can open a way for themselves in spite of all these difficulties, shall the ambassadors of the cross shrink back? God can open doors. He is the “Great Opener.” He opens the lips of the dumb to song, the eyes of the blind to sight, and the prison house to the captive. He opens the doors of utterance and entrance of the gospel. He opens graves and gates, the windows of heaven and the bars of death. He holds all they keys of every situation. – Samuel Zwemer (The Unoccupied Mission Fields of Africa and Asia)
Do not be discouraged when you hear stories of other Christians facing opposition in these “closed” places – for opposition and suffering is the appointed means for the Gospel to reach these places. Don’t be discouraged for we know that the Gospel will flourish in these places one day because the Gospel of Jesus Christ knows no frontier….