On July 17, an American Airlines Boeing 737-800 was approaching the departure runway in Miami and powering up its engines. Then the crew got an error message and aborted the takeoff.
A mechanic named Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani later admitted to federal agents that he tampered with the plane. He said he was upset about an impasse over a union contract and wanted the flight to be delayed or canceled so he could get overtime work.
Now prosecutors say Mr. Alani had videos on his cellphone that showed mass murders committed by the Islamic State. They also allege that he wished Allah would harm non-Muslims and that he has a brother in Iraq who may be involved with ISIS. A federal judge denied bail to Mr. Alani, stating that the mechanic may be “very sympathetic to terrorists.”
Al-Qaida’s leader issued a call on September 11 for Muslims to attack targets in the US, Europe, Israel, and Russia. And ISIS claims to have conducted more than 1,800 attacks in the first half of 2019.
Here’s the part of the story you won’t read in today’s news: during these years that the Islamic narrative has been dominated by radical jihadists, more Muslims have come to Christ than ever before in Islamic history. But their stories and even their names are unknown to most of us.
350,000 Bibles for oil field workers
God is at work in good times and in hard times.
Amid the historic energy boom in the Permian Basin of West Texas, ministers are giving away Bibles and sharing their testimonies with oil field workers coming to their area in record numbers. One such ministry has distributed more than 350,000 copies of Bibles customized for oil workers around the world.
One worker picked up a Bible and later told the minister what happened as a result: “I went home last night, read all of the Gospel of John. My wife did the same thing. We both got on our knees right there in the house and accepted Christ as our Savior. And, we’re changed.”
On the other hand, the Spirit is working in astounding ways amid the persecution God’s people face in Cuba and China. I was privileged to speak this week at an event supporting a ministry in Cuba that is transforming that island nation with the gospel. I have been to Cuba ten times over the years and can testify personally to the powerful spiritual movement sweeping the country.
The same is happening in China. When I was in Beijing a few years ago, missionaries told me that an underground movement is reaching millions every year with the gospel. The church in Cuba and China has exploded during the same decades it has faced horrific oppression from its Communist governments.
The eternal significance of present faithfulness
Here’s my point: those who invest in God’s kingdom seldom see the full results of their commitment.
Evangelicals who work so sacrificially to oppose abortion and defend life may never meet the babies whose lives they saved or see those babies grow up to become parents and grandparents.
Those who distribute Bibles in West Texas oil fields may never know how people respond to their outreach. Many of the missionaries who faithfully planted the seeds of the gospel in pre-Communist Cuba and China did not live long enough to see the results of their obedience.
Joseph didn’t know when he saved his family from starvation that he was preserving a nation through whom the Messiah would one day come. Moses didn’t know when he gave Israel the Ten Commandments that they would form the foundation for the Judeo-Christian worldview across centuries to come. Paul didn’t know when he “fought the good fight,” finished the race, and kept the faith, that his obedience would shape the world for more than twenty centuries (2 Timothy 4:7).
The man who organized the bus ministry that led me to Christ in 1973 went home to be with the Lord several years ago. He could not know when I became a Christian that I would be writing this article today.
You and I cannot measure the eternal significance of present faithfulness.
The river touches shores the source never sees
I make this point because it can be discouraging to serve Jesus when we cannot see the outcome of our commitment. If you invest in the stock market today, you’ll see the results tomorrow. If you invest in building a new home, you’ll live in it one day.
But with God’s work, as Oswald Chambers noted, the river touches shores the source never sees.
So know this: When we assault the gates of hell, the gospel wins (Matthew 16:18). When the light shines in the darkness, the light wins (John 1:5).
Every dollar and moment you invest in God’s kingdom will bear an eternal result that far outweighs its present cost. And such investments not only glorify God—they give our lives purpose, direction, and significance.
C. S. Lewis noted: “Christianity, if false, is of no importance and, if true, is of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.” Because Christianity is “of infinite importance,” it is worth all we trust to God and more.
Lewis warned us: “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” A life spent for God is a life God will use today and reward forever.
NOTE: I want to thank each of you who donated so graciously to our ministry through North Texas Giving Day. Because of your generosity, we will be able to reach more people than ever with God’s word. It is a great privilege to partner with you in building a global movement of culture-changing Christians.
I am deeply grateful for your investment in eternity.