Of Whom the World Was Not Worthy5
Nabil Habashy Salama is to be counted among those "whom the world was not worthy" (Heb 11:38). The devout Coptic Christian in Egypt died this week at the hands of his kidnappers. You can read his story here and here.
What captivated me was the message that his son, Peter, released about his father's martyrdom:
in their efforts to have him abandon the faith, they humiliated my father, and broke all his teeth to torture him. Yet, through all this, he held on, and we are so joyful for him
This is normal Christianity.
Nabil was a devout Christian businessman in Egypt who used his financial prosperity to help fund Christian activities, such as building the local church in his town. But he paid a price for his devotion, the ultimate price one can pay in this life. Refusing to turn his back on Jesus, militants kidnapped him, tortured him, and then shot him to death in the Egyptian desert.
We need to hear stories like this. Our children need to hear stories like this. We in the West need to hear the stories of brave men and women who not only teach Christianity, but live it in the most radically normal ways. I am reminded of Hebrews 11 and the stories of the heroes of the faith, when the writer of Hebrews says:
...some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated - of whom the world was not worthy - wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. (Heb 11:35-38)
The Christian East is in mourning right now, and we should join them, for they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. When one suffers, we all suffer. But we also join them in being inspired to be more faithful to Jesus, more faithful to the way of the cross, more faithful to a Christianity that is rooted in centuries of following Jesus even to the point of death.
Pray for me to embody this cross-following kind of Christianity.
And I will pray the same for you, too.