When I first heard about Jamaa, he had just received his second prison sentence for sharing his faith. This time, it was a 15-year sentence under the pretense of property damage.
Jamaa found Jesus while studying abroad in Europe. When he returned to Morocco, he persisted in practicing his beliefs and sharing the Gospel, leading to his first arrest in 1995.
The judge charged Jamaa with proselytizing; it’s illegal in Morocco to, in their words, “shake the faith of a Muslim.” He told Jamaa that if he ever saw him again, he would throw the book at him and then had him transferred to a mental hospital to undergo “treatment” for the next year. This cure for Christianity was so harsh that he temporarily lost the use of his arms and legs.
Upon his release, Jamaa continued to “shake the faith of Muslims.” In fact, he was relentless in spreading the good news of the Gospel. He didn't care that he was on the government's watch list. He painted Bible verses on his shop for all to see and hosted French language classes, where he spoke openly about his faith.
Ten years after his “treatment,” Jamaa burned down two old and unused wooden posts blocking access to his house. The government seized the opportunity to arrest him for "destroying the goods of others."
When he arrived at court for the second time, the judge asked him, “Are you crazy? Don’t you remember that I told you I was going to send you to prison for a long time if I ever saw you again?”
Jamaa looked at the judge squarely and said, “Your Honor, I have found the answer to life. I cannot keep silent, for everyone is going to hell and must be rescued. Even you, Your Honor, are going to hell – but you too can turn to Jesus.”
You can imagine how the judge responded. Jamaa was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
I’ve seen this extraordinary obedience many times among the persecuted. They know that prisons are full of spiritually desperate people who are rejected and cut off from society. They recognize that these outcasts represent an assignment from God.
The Lord calls us to obedience over and over in the Word. In fact, he says obedience is a marker of the real state of our love for Him: “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching” (John 14:23, NIV).
Our own understanding of obedience is way too small in the free Church. Rather than making choices based on God’s will, we often make decisions based on what brings us the most comfort, pleasure, or safety.
We all have had struggles with obedience; it’s only natural. If you are struggling with something right now, spend time and ask the Lord for help to submit joyfully and to trust His goodness and path.
International Christian Concern