Lessons of Faith From the Frontlines
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Phil. 1:21
an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria visited Habila Adamu at his home. When they forcefully entered the house, they told him that they had been looking for him to kill him. His reply to them was that he had been looking for them, too, because he wanted to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them.
The attackers argued with him for a while and told Habila one last time to recant his faith. When he refused, they made him kneel down and shot him in the face.
Thinking that they had won, they left him for dead. But Habila miraculously survived and saw God heal him from the terrible facial wounds he suffered.
The fact that Habila survived and experienced such amazing healing has been an immense encouragement to the church in northern Nigeria. But even more encouraging to them was his eagerness to preach the gospel to his persecutors in the face of death.
When asked how it can be that people make such choices even when it can cost their life (and often does), Suleiman explains “Habila told me, ‘I had a deep assurance that Jesus was in my heart, and if I was to fall and die, that I will go straight up to heaven.’
“So he actually lived the verse where Paul says, ‘For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.’ You see, it makes a difference when people are deeply convinced about their faith in Christ. Then Christ to them is not stories. It is not just a religion. No, it is a reality. So Christ is a reality in the life of this brother. And that is why, when he encounters Boko Haram, he was just saying, ‘Listen, I have been looking for an opportunity to preach the gospel to you and here God has given me one’. His faith was for real.”
“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’” Rev. 5:11-12
Joshua was only 18 when he willingly laid down his life for Christ. He was working in a Kano factory for the dry season to help his farming family make ends meet. One day, Islamic extremists came to the factory where they separated the Christian workers from the Muslim workers and started killing the Christian men one by one. Joshua was inside the factory accommodation and watched the whole thing unfold through a window. Inside with him was a Muslim woman who begged him to pretend that he was a Muslim to escape sure death. But he refused. “No, I am a Christian, and they are killing my brothers. I am also going out there. I am not going to stay here and pretend that I am a Muslim,” he told her. Joshua went outside and was killed along with nine other young men.
This may seem to be a futile death. But what we should be asking is why such a young man decided to rather go out and be killed for Christ than to hide here and pretend to be a Muslim.
Suleiman explains, “It is the value that Jesus had in the heart of this young man. Jesus was too valuable to him. He did not count his life as more important than standing as a witness for Jesus. …This boy poured his blood on the ground for them to be saved, for them to know Jesus.”