Feb 19 2010
I did something two days ago I never thought I’d do. I prayed for Osama bin Laden.
It happened while I was out on a run. I was thinking about how US forces have been unable to capture Bin Laden. And I wondered if it isn’t a testimony to Bin Laden’s hiding skills or the talent of our soldiers but that God, for some reason, doesn’t want him to be found yet.
Bin Laden has been the instigator for terrible things. And a part of me would just like to see him dead. But then I thought about Saul (who later became Paul). He murdered people for a living. After standing in approval of Stephen’s death, “Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison” (Acts 8:3). As the apostles and believers continued in their work, Saul’s rampage also continued. “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples” (Acts 9:1).
A realization grabbed my heart. Saul was the 1st century church’s Osama bin Laden. But Saul was rescued from his life of hatred and murder. And I don’t see why Bin Laden couldn’t be either.
It is often the extreme cases that teach us what we really believe about something. In principle, a man can be against adultery. But when a beautiful woman tries to seduce him, what does he REALLY believe? How will he choose?
We can say that God is capable of touching anyone – that He can save anyone from their sin. But do we believe it? Even for Osama bin Laden? Did Jesus die for Osama bin Laden? Does forgiveness have any bounds? Does it transcend nationalism? It does. It would be to God’s glory to rescue Osama from the sin he’s been living in. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have to answer for his sins to an international court. But that courtroom is but a child’s playground compared to the eternal judgment of God. May Jesus somehow speak to Bin Laden the same way He did to Paul!
“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting…I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you.” (Acts 26:14,16).
Today, I prayed for Osama bin Laden.