Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)
TITLE: Ahmed's Bibles
By Jana Kelley
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Ahmed had been in a North African prison for three days. On the first day, when police raided the worship service held in his home, many of his friends had denied their belief in Christ and had been allowed to return to their families. On the second day, after Ahmed and the others were beaten and forced to stare at the sun, a few more returned to Islam. Ahmed and his two remaining friends were tired and depressed. Ahmedís eyes ached and his vision was now blurred. His back and abdomen were bruised and sore from where the police had kicked him the day before. He had not slept well and the only food he had eaten since arriving in the small cement room at the police station was day old bread dipped in hot sweet tea.
Why was God not protecting him? Ahmed had felt sure that God Himself had been the One who had given him the idea to worship in his home. He had been very pleased at the number of believers who met with him each week to pray and read the Bible. Ahmed had even been able to secure enough Bibles for everyone to have their own copy and had extras for future members. He kept the Bibles at his home; mindful of the problems the members of his tiny church might have should they carry these Christian Books back to their own homes. If all of this had been Godís plan, why was Ahmed now sitting in a hot prison? Why had those who denied Christ so easily been allowed to return home while Ahmed and his two friends had been beaten and abused? Wasnít God more powerful than man? Why was He not protecting Ahmed?
Ahmed was overcome by fear because of what lay before him this third day in prison. Each time the police summoned him for interrogation, they had threatened more beatings. But on this day, the police officer who interrogated him announced that after the customary mid-morning breakfast, Ahmed and his friends would be shot in the courtyard unless they recanted their belief in Christ and returned to Islam.
Ahmed and his friends, trembling in their bodies and hearts, agreed not to deny Christ and to face whatever fate came to them that day. After the officers had eaten their breakfast, the three prisoners were lead to the courtyard. They lined up against a crumbling brick wall for what Ahmed could only assume would be the last memories he would have on earth.
While waiting for their executioner, Ahmed saw a stack of books on the ground across the courtyard. These were the Bibles that had been confiscated from his house three days ago. He could see that the police were preparing to burn them. Ahmed noticed a man walk by the stack of books, glance left and right, then quickly snag a book and slip it inside his jacket. Ahmed was amazed and looked about to see if anyone else had noticed. No one had seen! There was a flicker of hope in Ahmedís fearful heart. A few minutes later, still standing in the hot sun against the brick wall, Ahmed saw another officer walk by the stack of books, look about and then cautiously grab a small New Testament and slip it in his pocket. The flicker in Ahmedís heart burst into a realization. This was the reason for all that had happened. God was using Ahmed and his two faithful friends to distribute Bibles to security police!
A few moments later the executioner arrived, only, he had no gun in his hand. He escorted the three men to the head office where papers were stamped and they were released. There was no apology given for their incarceration and no reason given for their release.
Ahmed never saw those Bibles again and doesnít know if any of them got burned. He still suffers physically from the beatings he received during his time in prison. But he is thankful that God saw fit to let him distribute Bibles to security police. Ah, the Kingdom of God is growing, even in Islamic countries!
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