Counting the Cost

CC BY-NC, Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P., Flickr
CC BY-NC, Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. Flickr

The Islamic militant group Boko Haram recently kidnapped hundreds of Christian and Muslim teenage girls in northern Nigeria. Video of nearly half the girls surfaced showing the leader bragging that all had supposedly converted to Islam and been “liberated.”

That’s the part that provokes me—“Michael, what would you do?” Knowing Christ as I do and my love for him, how would I handle the situation when the time came to make a vow to Allah? In no way am I trying to cast aspersion on any of the girls; instead, I’m attempting to place myself inside their horrible experience and explore my own spiritual moorings.

I have never experienced that level of persecution, for anything. So I cannot predict my response with 100 percent certainty. Making bold promises from the quiet of my home and a decision about God while staring down an assault rifle is a world of difference psychologically.

Yet this is why we strengthen ourselves in godly devotion. We prepare for the day of trouble directly aimed at our faith in Christ, not unlike in the early church and for those today in persecuted areas. Hopefully, we keep in mind that our profession might cost us everything, all comforts and our very lives.

Jesus didn’t try to save his life for us, so will we save ours for him?

11 thoughts on “Counting the Cost

  1. I love how you take the right perspective here. It’s easy to judge or to think we would do something else from the comfort of our homes. I go back and forth on issues like this. At the end of the day, I believe this issue is less about the norms and expectations of Western religion, and more about social injustice, regardless of what religion is behind what cause.

    Great post, Michael! I hope you’re doing well.

    • Such a profound comment, Kevin. I’ve stressed an interior concern (apostasy); you’ve highlighted the exterior concern (trafficking). And as a human family, OUR concern must first be the social injustice, as you’ve rightly noted. Whether or not we remain committed or renounce our faith will be a personal decision. Great thoughts! (I am well and trust that you are, too!)

  2. I wonder about that kind of thing all of the time. I like to read history and I wonder what I would have done if I had lived in Germany in the 30’s and 40’s. Always hard to say, but I would like to think I would follow my Christian heart.

    • In my heart I feel that the people who prepare themselves for standing for Christ will not budge in the face of danger. That’s not to be unfair to the rest, but I cannot imagine one’s first-time consideration of the decision while staring at eternity to be a glowing moment of resolve. I hope I’m wrong.

  3. As you said so well Michael, I can’t say for absolute certainty because I’ve never been there. I believe that if I were one of these girls I would be in Heaven today. If, when, we come to that time the Holy Spirit can give us the same boldness as Stephen in Acts. I think we both would not convert to Islam. Thanks for bringing the thought. I may read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. It’s been awhile.

    • Me too, Ted. Folk will say, “But there’s nothing wrong with saving your life”–you know, don’t bring grief to your family and you don’t really mean it…just say ‘Yes’ and go on. But we have Jesus’s example from his betrayal to his trial to his crucifixion. Never once did he defend himself. Will I take up my cross for him? I truly hope so.

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