I first posted this piece in February of 2010. Update on it below!
I’ve been reading The Heavenly Man to my two teenagers at lunchtime. This book, which deeply influenced me three years ago, is about the great revival that took place in China in the 1970s and 1980s, in the very midst of the spirit-numbing Cultural Revolution. When people heard about the salvation of Jesus Christ and embraced Him, then giving their lives for Him seemed like a reasonable sacrifice. It was a no-brainer.
Over and over again, while I’m reading, I stop, with tears in my eyes and say something like, “I heard about this when I was a teenager. News would trickle back to us that something was going on in China, the Lord was working in China, that Christians were giving their lives and the church was increasing more and more.” And now my children have the privilege of hearing a behind-the-scenes report of that very time. For me, it is an edge-of-the-seat page-turner.
And now, in our church prayer meetings, I’m hearing the same thing about Iran. “Something is happening in Iran. The Holy Spirit is moving. People are coming to the Lord and giving their lives.” By God’s grace I could do something I couldn’t do when I was a teenager: go online and watch a video of the underground church in Iran. Dozens, sometimes hundreds, of people are secretly gathering, at the risk of their lives, to lift their hands in praise of the matchless Savior.
I was deeply moved at the scene that showed how once again God is displaying His power. The American church can be encouraged by the reminder that He is working, by the power of Christ’s Resurrection, even in the darkest places of the world. For us, a reminder that to give Him our lives is only a reasonable sacrifice. It’s really a no-brainer.
Update July 2014: Hearing about what was happening in the country of Iran finally led me to begin researching and reading, many websites and stacks of books. The result is the book Living Water in the Desert: True Stories of God at Work in Iran, which I’m posting chapter by chapter for free for a limited time on my website www.hiddenheroesmissionarystories.com. God is at work all over the world, and these stories have been a tremendous encouragement to me.