Mar 22 2012
Knowing the "real God'" has come at a price [Excerpts]
His heart pounds as he presses his two young daughters tightly to his chest and darts into the freezing rain. His wife follows close behind, quietly making her way through the darkness to the taxi idling outside the family's home. Faruq and Jamilah* aren't safe here anymore; police have finally tracked them down. Faruq knows they will soon come to arrest him.
The girls are in tears, frightened and shivering after being startled from a deep, warm sleep. Why are they leaving in the middle of the night, and in this weather, the driver asks, explaining that the taxi's heater is broken. Faruq offers a flimsy excuse and tells him to drive, warming the girls' tiny feet with his hands as the taxi speeds away.
This isn't the first time Faruq has been forced to disappear, but it is for the same reason -- his decision to follow Christ.
At 18, he abandoned the Muslim tradition of his parents in search of what he calls the "real God." But for many Christians in Central Asia whose belief in Jesus is born out of the ashes of a past Islamic faith, Christ's "free gift" of salvation comes at a high price.
Faruq's own nightmare began not long ago. As he prayed alone late one night while his wife and daughters slept, more than a dozen policemen slipped silently over the walls surrounding the family's compound. Within moments they were inside the house. Faruq and Jamilah watched in horror as police ransacked their living room, confiscating Bibles, Christian books, literature and videos as well as other Gospel materials. But they didn't stop there.
The raid was part of a coordinated sting on several suspected Christians; Faruq knew immediately who sold him out. Earlier that evening, he had discipled a small group of believers at his home. One brought a new friend who turned out to be a police informant.
Rounds of interrogation began as soon as Faruq arrived at police headquarters. Why did he become a Christian? Was someone paying him to convert Muslims? Was he paid to convert?
The police didn't like his answers.
"I told them my testimony," Faruq recounts. "I said, 'There's no money.' ... Finally one of these people who were investigating me got very frustrated. He was saying, 'Why don't you tell us [the truth]?' I said, '... the Holy Spirit is changing people, not me.'"
(Graham, “Knowing the 'real God' has come at a price,” Baptist Press, March 14, 2012).