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Fourth Man in the Furnace

From ‘The Voice of the Martyrs'”  http://www.persecution.com/

Twenty-seven-year-old evangelist “Sajid Masih” climbed aboard the bus that would take him to his next mission.  He was heading into hostile territory, a region of Pakistan dominated by Islamic extremists.

As the bus carried him toward a dangerous and uncertain future, Sajid reflected on a dream he had experienced before completing Bible school.  In the dream, he saw one of Pakistans prominent cities in the future, with a large, open door at the city entrance.  Sajid said he believed the dream was God’s way of telling him He would take him in a new direction and open doors for sharing the gospel in Pakistani cities.

In the decade following that dream, Sajid led many Pakistani’s to Christ.  Most that he met were open to the gospel, and some experienced miraculous healings.

Now, as he headed toward a new adventure, Sajid struck up a conversation with several passengers seated nearby and began to tell them about Jesus.  They were interested to hear more, but a bearded man sitting behind Sajid was incensed by what he heard and began to argue with him.

“You Christians do not consider anything about our prophet, so why should we listen to you talk about your Bible?” the man demanded.

Calmly and respectfully, Sajid replied, “Our Bible has no reference about your prophet.”

“The prophet was written in your Bible,” the man continued, “but you people would not accept it so you changed the words to your own.”  Sajid did not respond.  He knew he could not reason with someone so angry.

The long bus ride came to and end shortly after sunset.  After Sajid got off the bus, a dozen men gathered around him.  They quickly overpowered Sajid, placed a blindfold over his eyes and shoved him into the back seat of a car.  Twenty-five minutes later, they arrived at a compound and took him into a room for questioning.

“Who are you?” they demanded.  “Are you a preacher? Are you converting Muslims? Which organization do you belong to?”

Sajid fell silent with fear, but his persecutors threatened to kill him if he didn’t respond to their questions.  “I am telling you the truth,” Sajid explained, “I am God’s preacher.”

“If you want to spare your life, you must deny your faith and become a Muslim,” his captors warned.  “If you don’t do as we say, we will torture you and within 30 minutes your passion for Christianity will disappear.”

“I am ready for whatever you choose to do to me,” Sajid replied. “I am prepared to die for Jesus, and I will not lose my passion for him no matter what you do to me.

voice of the martyrs, pakistan

Sajid’s kidnappers took him outside, tied his hands behind his back and forced him to stand on a block of ice with his back against a tree.  They tied a rope around his chest and legs securing him to the tree.  After four hours on the block of ice, Sajid’s feet began to suffer from frostbite.  He could endure the ice no longer and cried out to Jesus for help.  “Suddenly, I saw a vision of a radiant angel appearing in front of me,” Sajid said.

Sajid’s pain eased and he regained his strength. He was inspired to sing several worship songs, despite the possible consequences of annoying his persecutors.  Then he fell unconscious.  When he awoke at 3 am, he realized he had been dumped in a drainage ditch at the side of the road.  His wallet and a Hebrew language book he had been carrying were lying beside him.

A passerby took Sajid to a local hotel where he recovered for three days. He contacted his brother who brought him home for more rest and medical treatment.

He says although his trial was difficult, he felt Jesus was very close to him.  “When we suffer and face trouble, Jesus comes very close to us”, he said. Just as a “fourth man” appeared with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace, Jesus was present with Sajid in the midst of his suffering.

When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were delivered from the fiery furnace, King Nebuchadnezzar proclaimed: “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God” (Daniel 3:28)

Like the men in Daniel, Sajid yielded his body to torture in order to worship no god except their own God.  His witness and courageous faith inspire us.  We thank God for his deliverance from Pakistan’s fiery furnace and pray that the Lord will continue to use him mightily.

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