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How do you know your calling?

How do you know that God is calling you to do something? Not many of us see a burning bush like Moses (Exodus 3), or hear God’s voice wake us up in the night like Samuel (1 Samuel 3). For many of us, God speaks through whispers, the words of the Bible, and even our experiences. But he’s still doing the miraculous and unexpected…

Ten years ago, Pastor Joseph had just got married. He was a young church leader living in Baghdad, Iraq. But then something happened that changed his life for ever. A terrorist attack on his car proved to be the way God would redefine and refocus his life…

“It was ten years ago, just three weeks after my wedding. I had a special car during that time. On that day I drove from my home to the church as usual. Terrorists had placed a bomb under my car. All of a sudden, there was this huge explosion. I was totally confused and I couldn’t see anymore. I heard a woman screaming: ‘This man is dying,’ and I thought, ‘This is it, I am dying.’ But somehow I got out of the car.”

As if a scarf could stop a bomb. Nothing touched me, I lost not even a drop of blood.

As Joseph comes to this point in the story he stops talking for a moment, as if he sees everything happening again. Then he begins again. Soon after he got out of the car he was able to see again.

“You know, each part of my car was destroyed and damaged, except for my seat and myself. I had no scratches, the car was in flames, but I wasn’t burned. I found pieces of glass in my hair and four parts of the bomb in the scarf I had around my neck. As if a scarf could stop a bomb. Nothing touched me, I lost not even a drop of blood.”

The young pastor saw the hand of God in his miraculous of survival.

“God gave me additional time. He put his stamp on my ministry, He said ‘Go on.’ God encouraged me that day. When, seven years later, Islamic State took control of big parts of Iraq and Muslims started coming to Christ, I understood why God wanted me to stay. So when someone asks me why I remain with my family in Baghdad, I tell them this story. I know God is with me each moment.”

Joseph is married and has two children. He knows that most of the violence in the city is randomly targeting people who are in the wrong place at the wrong moment. “We suffer from the same things as all the people here suffer from. We want to be with them. There is violence everywhere, persecution everywhere,” he says. “We like to be like a Menorah (a decorative lamp-stand). We’re a small group, we trust in our God. He can use us. We see that everyone is seeking peace, love and hope. We as a church are sharing about the ultimate source of these things. When they hear us talking about this, they listen.”

Joseph is secure in the fact that God is with him as he lives out his calling, even when war, persecution and terror are all around him. His story can be an amazing inspiration to us as we try to live out God’s call on our lives. We might not be 100% sure where God’s call will take us just yet, especially if we’re young, or haven’t been a Christian long. But what we can be sure of is that it will involve showing and sharing God’s light and love to those that don’t know Him, in many different ways, just as Pastor Joseph is doing. And like Joseph, if we’re doing that, then we can be sure that God is with us too.

Three ways you can help Christians in Iraq…

1. Pray. Use the points below, and order our free prayer resources…
2. Give. Give online now to help families like Christine’s in Iraq rebuild their lives. You can also order our free ‘Walk, bake, ride, run… With Them’ fundraising pack to help you raise money too!
3. Speak up. Sign the One Million Voices of Hope petition and call for a future of safety and dignity for Christians in the Middle East.

Pray now…

  • Pray for Pastor Jospeh and his family. Thank God for his faith, his health and all the ways he is serving
  • Pray for his congregation, some of whom are converts from a Muslim background, who need support and care.
  • Pray that those who come to Jesus during this time of war and violence would grow strong in their new faith.
  • Pray for the future of Iraq, that peace would come and the process of rebuilding would begin.

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.