We have just finished celebrating Passover and the Resurrection, both being the proof of unmerited, wholesale, supernatural deliverance from death. We know from history that not long after Yeshua was raised from the dead, intense persecution began at the hands of the Romans. We also know that it is the mystery of persecution that causes people to either run straight to faith, or speedily away from it. The term “being fed to the lions” has become part of our modern day cultural idiom and is used to describe many other things besides not denying the Savior, including having a rough day at the office, or giving a presentation where there was some push back.
But what if actual lions turn the tables and become the deliverers? In a report that just came out from an outfit that has been smuggling Bibles in the Middle East for 40 years, that is exactly what happened this past Easter Sunday. The story is told by Paul Ciniraj, director of Bibles for Mideast. Paul was raised as a Muslim and became a believer in Christ around 40 years ago. His organization preaches the gospel as well as establishes nondenominational house churches known as Assembly of Loving God, and they live under the continual threat of death. Paul has also triumphed over leukemia. In addition, he reports what many have been saying for the last ten years, and that is, while Islam is most definitely the dominant religion in the region, thousands and thousands of Muslims are converting to Christianity. It is also commonly known that these conversions often come about as the result of visions and dreams, something I discovered when I was in Iraq. Anyone experiencing this type of conversion knows that death could spring at any point from any place, and it makes “Whether we live we are the Lord’s, whether we die we are the Lord’s,” take on a reality that so far in the States we have not had to face.
Paul had himself been attacked by jihadists, and was being cared for in the home of some friends living in a forested area. His group had also been working in the area to spread the Gospel. In the home where he was recuperating, there were also several other believers, including preschoolers under the age of four, a woman who was seven months pregnant, and an elderly woman of 80. Paul reported to World Net Daily, “Suddenly, a group of militants reached the house, armed with steel bars and other weapons.” They all thought, “This is it.” Paul puts it this way: “Losing all hope, we thought for sure this was our last day,” and they began to pray together one last time before death surely came.
Then, what can only be described as a miracle happened.
“Completely unexpectedly, a lion ran from the forest, leapt toward the militants, and seized one by the neck. When other combatants tried to attack the lion, two other lions bounded toward them. The terrified militants fled the site, and the lions left us completely alone,” Paul said.
“Equally astonishing, records show no lions are supposed to live in that forest,” Paul stated.
This story gives me chill bumps, and I have no reason to doubt its veracity. It is a fresh reminder that we need to find a way to live life with this kind of sharply-honed spiritual readiness within, even though we live in one of the safest counties in Alabama. As for me, I am reminded that it’s time for spring cleaning, and I do mean more than my garage.