Updated: Apr 23, 2020
He stood in the middle of the compound near the Afghan-Uzbek border surrounded by angry men whose language he barely understood. It wasn’t long after September 11, 2001 and these men were hungry, desperate to feed their families. Husbands, brothers, fathers, they were willing to do whatever it took to get rid of this young American so they could access the food they believed was in the compound. The situation was past “out of control.” Violence was half a breath away. The crowd of men surged forward. John acted on instinct.
Once again John tried to explain he simply didn’t have enough food for everyone. He wished he did. He was angry, too. An old man deliberately made his way to the front of the uneasy crowd. “It is clear that this man tells the truth,” he said. “It is clear now that this is a man who fears only God.”
From then on, John was known as “he who fears only God.” You can read the rest of his story in his excellent book Inside Afghanistan.
Wouldn’t it be great to be known that way? To have a reputation for our faith above all else? Yet, I wonder how many of us would want to be inside Afghanistan right after 9/11 surrounded by hungry, angry men ready to do away with us to get the food their families desperately need.
It’s only in the face of real danger that our faith grows and our fear shrinks.
Am I willing to take the risk?
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