My family recently watched the movie The Courier. It’s based on the true story of a British businessman who carried secrets from a spy in Russia to a MI6 agent and a CIA agent in Britain during the Cold War. Greville Wynne safely transported thousands of messages before it became apparent he and the Russian spy had been identified. Against the advice of MI6 and the CIA, Greville insisted on going back one last time to help the Soviet spy defect.
I’ve been thinking about reformers and heroes a lot lately. It’s easy to glamorize their lives when you watch a two-hour movie or hear their accounts. It takes less than ten minutes to read the biblical account of David and Goliath or Abram rescuing Lot from the five kings that took him captive or Rahab’s encounter with the spies. But when you really stop to contemplate what they did, the courage it took, and the odds of survival, if you’re like me, you’re left asking, Could I do the same?
It’s naïve to think we’ll never find ourselves in a position where we’d have to stand up and/or stand alone. Maybe we won’t face a giant that’s holding our nation captive or be asked to smuggle secrets from one country to the next. But chances are there will be something for which we’ll have to stand. It’s interesting to note how God encourages us in those times through the heroes of the Bible who were called upon to do things that required them to go against the status quo and rely solely on God.
Consider Abram leaving his father’s family to go to a foreign land because God told him to go. He left his comfort zone and the people he knew and trusted God to provide. Joseph was taken to Egypt as a slave. He was not only penniless but powerless. Esther faced the most powerful man in the kingdom (aside from her husband), and she alone, unlawfully, went before the king. Daniel was targeted and went to a lions’ den alone. Ruth left everything to care for her mother-in-law, not knowing how it would work out. Micaiah was the only one to tell Ahab the truth, in direct opposition to what the other 400 prophets said. Elijah stood alone on Mt. Carmel against 450 prophets of Baal and another 400 prophets of Asherah.
And those aren’t all the examples in Scripture of people who stood alone to do what was right. The judges God used to deliver his people had to step out. The prophets very often found themselves on a king’s bad side. And the apostle Paul often was chased out of town, told he was crazy, and ignored.
Being used by God very often will lead you to lonely places. It means knowing who God is and getting through the fear. The men and women who stood apart as heroes of faith determined what they stood for was worth dying for. To not stand for the cause would mean they couldn’t live with themselves.
Greville Wynne went back to Russia one last time. He knew it was dangerous. In fact, he knew the potential was very good that he would be imprisoned or killed. But Greville realized there would be no joy in safety, only the grim reality that he sold out his friend.
Let’s contemplate the cost of defending the faith and pray God continues to raise up reformers who will fearlessly stand for his truth.