By Doug Lucas with JC and Carla Williams
The harrowing images from Afghanistan over the past couple of weeks bring to mind a Winston Churchill quote: “The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult.”
These same images also raise a concern for mission-minded Christians everywhere: What will all of this mean for believers and church gatherings in this troubled land?
For this article, we interviewed Christian workers and believers from both inside and outside of Central Asia. Christianity has recently been on a slow but steady rise in Afghanistan. The present upheaval will not end this. While believers are worried, their faith remains strong.
And all Afghan believers are thankful to the American and coalition forces who fought against terrorism and in defense of freedom during the past 20 years.
One Afghan put it this way: “Before you came, this was a wasteland. You brought roads, communication, education, and so much more. Long-term, the people will not stand for this. We will be courageous. We will rise again. These terrorists and tyrants will not stand.”
And so, U.S. and coalition forces should hold their heads high, regardless of the future. As Theodore Roosevelt famously said,
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
The United States and its partners did not cower while known outlaws launched carefully planned attacks designed to rule the world by terror. In that regard, our military response was the right thing to do.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Many of us are eager to do something. Our hearts are breaking and the idea of just “sitting on the sidelines” turns our stomachs. There are no easy answers right now, but we know spiritual answers always begin with prayer. If we want to see God do something big and miraculous, we need to pray. The Afghan people are in a dangerous moment in their history. Pray for a miracle . . . but also pray for endurance and tenacious faith. Pray for the vulnerable—the women, the children, the tens of thousands who are on the run, sleeping under trees, without water, and without food.
While I (Doug) was preparing to write this, during Team Expansion’s monthly day of prayer and fasting, a partner church called asking if we could find a way to help believers in Afghanistan. They too had been praying. Piece by piece, God began to assemble the puzzle. Through our various connections and networks, we have been able to assemble an infrastructure of support with the help of believers and volunteers in Afghanistan; it uses well-established supply lines and local transportation via overland routes. Our shared prayers led to an unexpected opportunity to feed the hungry throughout the 57 camps for internally displaced people in Kabul.
This means a gift of $1 can provide two days of food for a person, and $45 can pay for food and water for a family of seven for a month. In fact, by faith, aid has already started flowing to 800 Afghans.
Our prayers often lead us to action. If you’ve been praying for a tangible way to help the people of Afghanistan, ask God if this is your next step. But mostly, just pray, and keep praying until God leads you into action and his name is glorified in the United States, in Afghanistan, and around the world.*
Doug Lucas serves as president of Team Expansion. JC and Carla Williams also serve with the missionary organization.