It was about 10-12 years ago and my husband and I had mobilized a medical mission team into a restricted access nation in North Africa. On this particular day we were at a Sudanese refugee camp.
Like it was yesterday, I can still feel the intensity and surreal sense of courage and grief in the air, as one young mother came to us for help. Through our Arabic translator, she began to tell us about the circumstances that was causing the intense pain she was feeling in the gut of her stomach.
She began by telling us that she was raised a Muslim. In fact, she was from a very faithful Muslim family and had an arranged marriage to a strong Muslim man. Early in their marriage, she explained that God began interrupting their lives. Her husband had a dream about Jesus. It was so impactful to him that he instantly began seeking to know more about the Bible and the truth about Jesus. Shortly after, she had a dream too. Jesus appeared to her and confirmed He was the Christ, the Son of God. Both her and her husband obtained a Bible, believed upon Christ and secretly converted to Christianity.
They instantly began evangelizing their Muslims friends. One by one they began coming to Christ. Before they knew it, they had gone public and even though they had opposition, they persevered and began having meetings in a building- they would call their church.
As word spread to family members and government officials, it became evident that Veronica and her husband were not going to convert back to Islam. One evening as they gathered in their church, a mob came, led by Veronica’s father, along with government officials. They burned down their church and arrested the members that had converted from Islam to Christianity, including Veronica’s family.
The local Iman (Muslim Pastor) came to the prison and pleaded with Veronica to convert back to Islam. She refused. She could not renounce her faith. Jesus was the Truth, and she could not deny it. After he left the guards brought in her husband. They told her to convert or watch her husband die. Her sweet husband pleaded, “Stay Strong Veronica! Don’t do it!” Weeping bitterly, she said, “No! I cannot deny my Jesus.” No sooner than the words left her mouth, the guards beheaded her husband.
Before she could recover from the shock of what just happened the guards brought in her two sons. Again, they called her to renounce her faith or her two boys would die like their father. Her sons, plead with their mom to stay strong. They reminded her that Jesus was enough and they would go to a better place. With uncontrollable tears, she pleaded with the guards not to hurt her children. She declared her love to them, but said she could never renounce her faith in Jesus. She told her boys that Jesus was everything and they must hold onto Him. No matter the pleas, the guards again beheaded her two young boys just like their father.
Veronica wept uncontrollably. She felt as though her whole body was dying inside as she laid on the dirt cell floor, now covered in blood. The guards, even more angry than before, began kicking Veronica. You see Veronica was 6 months pregnant. They kicked her until she miscarried her baby.
Now Veronica sat in our mobile clinic, asking for us to examine her because of the pain in her stomach.
You see Veronica had much deeper pain, then what she felt physically. We joined hands and wept with her. It was as though her grief became my grief, her pain became my pain. But what so affected me, was not that Veronica grieved the loss of her family. Of course, she did. But it was Veronica’s hope. She continued to tell us how God had provided for her to be released from the jail. One miracle after another, she exclaimed how God provided for her and her remaining daughter.
I don’t know what you’re walking through today, but one thing I do know, only Jesus gives us this kind of Hope. Hope that when you’re walking through the valley of the shadow of death, you can stand up and rejoice at God’s provision and peace. Hope that declares, “though weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” – Psalms 30:5
Are you walking in a Hope that does not disappoint, even when your circumstances do? Maybe it’s time to realign your thoughts & emotions, with the truth of God’s Word. – Psalms 25:3a “No one who hopes in You will ever be put to shame…”