Sunday, August 10, 2014

Radical Obedience: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and ISIS

I've had terrorists on my mind. That's partly because I'm editing my first novel and it's filled with terrorists. It might also be because I've been jumping to conclusions and seeing terrorists where there were none.

All that terrorist thinking has reminded me of the time when I selected a terrorist of the week and asked you to pray for them.  It was July 6, 2014 and our terrorist of the week was Nasir al-Wuhayshi. He was the general manager of Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula and one of the most dangerous men in the world.  

His stated goal was to "destroy the cross. The bearer of the cross is America."

I use the past tense because he was killed in a drone attack in Yemen on June 12, 2015. He was 38 years old.  He left behind a legacy of death and destruction. 

I wept when he died, but not because I was sorry his reign of terror had come to an end. I wept because I had prayed for him to come to a saving knowledge of the Great I AM, but he never did. He died as he lived. A bitter and murderous man.

He had a choice and he made it, but I still grieve the lost potential of a man redeemed and transformed by the blood of Jesus. 

Stranger things have happened. Consider the Apostle Paul. 

My first terrorist for whom I prayed was Ayman al-Zawahiri.  He is Egyptian and was trained as a surgeon. He practiced medicine for a while, but now, he is a full-time terrorist. One of his wives and two of his children were killed by a U.S. bomb in Afghanistan. Their loss fueled his anger, but he was a terrorist before they died and eventually became the head of Al-Qaeda. He was instrumental in helping the ISIS expand and merge with other terrorist organizations to become ISIL. 

As a physician, one who is trained to preserve life, it is unthinkable that one of my colleagues would dedicate himself to the murderous atrocities of ISIL, but al-Zawahiri knows no bounds. 

Assassination. Kidnapping and torture. Bombings. He is responsible for the death of untold numbers of people.

Law enforcement officials around the world have tried and failed to stop him. 

Only God can bring this man to his knees. 

Only God can stop him.

Jesus said, "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:44 nasb) 

Ayman al-Zawahiri is one of those enemies for whom we are to pray and to love. With the command of Jesus in mind, I'm choosing to pray for him. I'm choosing to ask God to bring him to repentance and salvation. Whether it is through a dream or a vision or the testimony of a believer, I pray this evil man will be transformed. 

He's not the only terrorist for whom we need to pray, but he is the leader of a large group of terrorists. Imagine the impact his salvation could make. 

Praying for our enemies. As disciples, it's not optional. We have it to do. 

There's no better place to start than praying for Ayman al-Zawahiri. 

"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, 
but with God all things are possible." 
(Matthew 19:26 niv)

photo from Wikipedia

Kathy McKinsey wrote a beautiful article for Friday Night with Friends, New Beginning. If you haven't read it yet, you can click here. You can read more by Kathy at her blog. Our next Friday Night with Friends guest blog will post at 6 pm this Friday night. You don't want to miss it!