It was never about politics. Sometimes I cringe when it does. It was about four Christian men who set out to save lives. It was about three other people whose lives were spared who had to witness martyrdom with their own eyes (two of them became and still are very close to me). I still remember sitting on my parent's couch, home for the weekend from seminary, seeing a billow of smoke on TV and praying that they would be found. My prayers were probably no different than Kayla Mueller's parent's prayers when they heard that their daughter might be dead in Syria when all she wanted to do was to go help others in another crazy part of the world. It's not that our prayers went unanswered. It's that the Lord had already called them home. Unfair. Unexpected. Tragic. Yet so many of our brothers and sisters risk their lives every day to help people they do not know in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Sudan, and even in places as benign as the Straights of Florida. There's a missing Methodist missionary in Nigeria I just read about. There are people as brave as Kayla that would go into a war ravaged country to better the lives of those who nothing but the sounds of violence. These brave men and women who wear no uniform and hold no rank or insignia go simply to help others. Today they and their families deserve our prayers. Somewhere there's a mother who hasn't heard from her son the humanitarian worker in the Sudan. There's a father who hasn't heard from his daughter the missionary who is living the gospel somewhere in the Middle East. There's a Methodist church in Seattle who is praying for their pastor to come home. Pray for humanitarian workers, missionaries and their families today.
And then there's Mario, Carlos, Pablo, and Alejandro who just wanted to help their Cuban brothers and sisters who were yearning to be free. Three planes took off 19 years ago today less than a mile from where I'm writing this. Sadly, only one of those planes returned. Jose, Andres, and Silvia sadly saw what martyrdom looked like. It was never about politics. It was about doing what Christ told us to do: "Love one another as I have loved you (John 13:34)."