In a recent email prayer-letter I mentioned that a gentleman on our church-plant team for Christ Community Church here in Dearborn, a pediatric surgeon at Beaumont Hospital here in the Detroit area, has had a tremendous burden to be used for God’s glory in Gaza. This week he was granted permission to travel into Gaza for 10 days under the auspices of a reputable international medical organization to lend a hand in the overwhelming need for medical and surgical assistance there. He is our dear and beloved brother. We love his heart and we love his family. Our brother goes not just to repair bodies but he goes for the sake of Jesus and his Gospel and we are sending him in the grace of God, the name of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit. In the hope that the Spirit will stir your heart to prayer, I wanted to share Nathan’s own prayer letter with you:
For years now I have sensed God’s call for me to go to war-torn countries – particularly during the war. God has been gracious in training me in both adult and pediatric trauma surgery and with that comes responsibility. Additionally and more importantly, Christ’s love compels me – controls me to love as He loved.
It is for this reason that when I saw the suffering in the faces of the people of Gaza I could not suppress my desire to go. God opened a door for me to go to Gaza tomorrow. My plan is to arrive around 10 am Eastern time in Israel. I will spend the night in Jerusalem and then travel into Gaza City. As I write this, the ceasefire was just broken 3 hours before it was due to expire.
I am not afraid. I believe God has called me to this and His Sovereign Will is better than any plan I could devise. I do ask that you pray for me and the situation. God hears the cries of His people. [My wife] and the girls need your prayers too. If I am killed they need your prayers and your support. The Church is called to care for widows and orphans and so I ask that you would love them and care for them in my absence. I have no doubt that God will show His Faithfulness to them through many things but often and maybe most visibly through you.
Please pray also for the Gospel to be heard and for Palestinians and Israelis to receive Christ with joy. He is the only hope for salvation and the end of wars.
Come Lord Jesus!
For Christ and His Kingdom,
If these words seem extreme or unreasonable to you, I would encourage you to re-read the words of Jesus to his disciples about his own suffering and theirs. Jesus said,
"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:23-26)
I would encourage you to ask yourself if you really take seriously the call to follow Jesus, if you really take to heart the commission of Jesus, and if you really believe in the sovereignty of God and the rock-solid certainty of his promises of a glorious future for all who trust in Christ. I would also encourage you to read a couple books that explore these themes like John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life and David Platt’s Radical.
For a balanced article to start a better and more reasonable discussion of the Church's biblical response to the past and present conflicts in Israel & Gaza please see World Magazine's article The Awkward Truth About Evangelicals and Gaza:
Finally, from August 8-19 please pray for wisdom, discernment, medical effectiveness, gospel-opportunities, and God’s protective hand to be upon our brother as he travels into a very difficult region in the name of the Lord. Please pray for his wife and girls as they await his return. Thank you for praying with us for our brother as he serves the Lord like the Lord served us.