Spoken Faith in a Risen Lord
by Tim Keesee
Sayid grew up in a small village in the Atlas Mountains of North Africa. The mosque in the middle of the jumble of mud-brick homes there set the rhythms of life and faith for Sayid and his family, as it had for his father’s fathers for more than twelve centuries. There was no church; nor had anyone in Sayid’s world met a Christian. Sayid’s first glimpse of the Light was through Christian satellite television. He heard something over and over on the broadcasts—words that were startling, words that shook his world and his soul, words that can raise the dead: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16, KJV).
Eight years passed before Sayid got a copy of the Bible and met a Christian face-to-face. Sayid felt as if he was in a life-and-death struggle as he read the Bible and the Qur’an, and he often laid them side by side and cried out to God to show him which book was true. Over time, Sayid found his heart drawn more and more to Christ than to Muhammad, and he started attending a house church, where he was deeply affected by the fellowship around the Word and by the joyful hymn singing—something he had never heard in a mosque. One Sunday, he stood up during a prayer meeting and confessed Christ as his Savior and Lord.
On the day Sayid was baptized, he sent a group message to everyone in his phone contact list. It said simply, “Walit Masihi” (I became a Christian). In his country, this was like asking to be killed. But Sayid did not have a death wish—instead, he has a living hope. It’s hard to threaten a man who knows he will now live forever.
In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul writes of the pressure, perplexity, and persecution he had experienced—and that his readers would experience—in the work of the gospel. Despite these difficulties, he urges us not to be discouraged, because Jesus is alive and present with His people:
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. (vv. 13–14)
Paul is quoting Psalm 116, where the psalmist had a near-death experience but lived because of God’s deliverance. Paul’s belief in ultimate and unfailing deliverance through the power and presence of the risen Christ compelled him to speak, just as it did Sayid.
Believing faith results in a spoken faith. For those of us who by grace can say along with Sayid, “I am a Christian,” our faith and risk-taking witness are rooted in the resurrection—Christ’s and ours in Him. That’s good news that’s too good to keep to ourselves.