Belief Beyond All Boundaries
BY BENNETT ROLAN, BSF DIGITAL EDITOR
Faisal doesn’t take a single BSF meeting for granted. For decades, Faisal and his family lived in a country where churches are scarce, prayer is hidden and Bibles are rare. Though they’ve been gone for several years, Faisal is grateful for every opportunity to study God’s Word openly.
“I can’t imagine how I managed it, but there was a purpose behind all of those years,” he shared. “I don’t see it as a loss of years, I see it as a gain.”
Faisal’s faith runs deep and he often shared the gospel, risking opposition for himself and his family. His co-workers even called him “the priest” because he steered everyday conversations toward biblical truth.
But Faisal wasn’t always committed to Christ. Without access to a Bible or a pastor to guide him, Faisal’s focus on financial success distracted him from questions about faith. His family’s background compelled him to value nationalism over religion, causing him to resent the idea of a Jewish Savior.
But God had plans for Faisal and his family. Just as He met Abram in the wilderness in Genesis 15, God undeniably called Faisal to Himself.
“There was some sort of a call, a voice, that said, ‘Faisal, you must go to church tomorrow.’ I don’t know if it was an audible voice, but it was clear to me. It was very strange. I just knew I had to obey, I couldn’t deny it. I told my wife, and she was very surprised. I just knew we couldn’t be late, as if I had a meeting with someone,” he said.
“The sermon was from 2 Kings, and I liked the story. It was the first time I had heard anything from the Old Testament. Toward the end, the pastor explained that sin had poisoned the whole world and through the blood of Jesus Christ there will be no more sin. Something I had never heard before crept into my mind. What is sin? Why would I need Jesus when I’m not a sinner?”
Following The Call
During the months that followed, the gospel consumed Faisal’s thoughts.
“It turned my whole life upside down,” he shared. “Somehow, I became miserable. It was a terrifying year actually. It was like a fight I had never encountered in my whole life. I was struggling with what I heard about Jesus, about sin, starting to ask myself, ‘Am I really a sinner? Do I need this Jesus the pastor was talking about?’ I kept hearing those words, that I am a sinner and only Jesus can purify me from that sin.”
Faisal remembers “acting like a madman,” trying to understand the gospel in a country where Christians don’t openly profess their faith.
“It was like my own Armageddon with God. I kept praying, ‘Leave me alone. I don’t want this happening in my life.’ Then, at the end of about a year and a half, I had another encounter with God. I saw the whole story of my life and it became obvious that the sinner the pastor was talking about was me. I always thought success would cover those things. Without actually knowing who He was, I knelt down and asked for grace. I didn’t own a Bible. It was a direct encounter between God and me.”
I saw the whole story of my life and it became obvious that the sinner the pastor was talking about was me.
As God said to Abram in Genesis 15:1, “I am your shield, your very great reward,” He faithfully revealed His character to Faisal. In the most unlikely of circumstances, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Jesus drew Faisal out of the “wilderness” and into eternal hope.
Forsaking All Fear
When Faisal confided in his wife, she was shocked by her husband’s transformation. After years of meeting with Christians in the area, she felt alone in her faith. But the man who had wrestled with God for more than a year came to her with a spirit of worship.
The couple quickly became an integral part of a church network, often held in homes throughout the area. With limited Christian resources, Faisal and his wife quietly acquired Bibles and commentaries when they visited other countries.
“The Word of God was scarce, but I became deeply attached to it. The Word changed my life. I love the Word and the God of the Word.”
Meeting privately, Faisal’s small community of Christians drew close, bound by the grace that breaks all barriers.
“The only person who was present in our meetings was Jesus Christ,” Faisal shared. “We weren’t distracted by denominational differences or ‘what you believe, and I don’t believe.’ It was one of the most beautiful things.”
“We met three or four times a week, praying for God’s protection. The hardest choice our Father made, sending His Son to die for sinners, never left my mind. Remembering what Jesus endured on the Cross for me was worth any risk.”
The word of God was scarce, but I became deeply attached to it. The Word changed my life …
Firm In Faith
For Faisal, the faith God forged years ago still compels him to share the gospel at every opportunity. And when he was asked to help start a BSF group, the answer was easy. Looking for a meaningful way to serve the Lord, BSF provided a much-needed opportunity for Faisal to support his brothers in Christ.
“It’s completely different from a normal church or Bible study, where you sit down on a bench and listen to a pastor telling you what a passage is about,” Faisal said. “You get to dig to find value in the Word, you can talk and discuss and there is always something of value that you weren’t expecting.”
During this year’s Beginnings study, Faisal feels a deep connection to Abram in Genesis 15:6, who “believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” Just as God commanded Abram to remember, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it” in verse 7, Faisal holds fast to the One who delivered him from sin into the land of eternal salvation.
“When you look at the world through God’s eyes, you feel obliged to tell everyone about His love and grace, what He has done for sinners like us,” Faisal shared. “We don’t always know God’s purpose, but if we listen and obey, we can trust that there is good in all things. God is all over the place, he will never leave a person. Even in a closed country, there are no boundaries for Him.”
Editor’s note: For the safety and security of Faisal and his family, names and other details were changed or omitted.