"You live in Afghanistan? Aren't you afraid?"
I heard this question many times during my seven years working as the principal of the American International School of Kabul (ISK). The news reports coming to the U.S. were full of military and civilian deaths and dangers.
As I considered making Kabul my destination of service, I embraced God’s words to Joshua in Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
In my new country, I dressed in the appropriate conservative garb but still felt the piercing stares of Afghan men wherever I went. It felt unsettling and threatening, even though no one ever attacked me or even touched me, aside from the crowds in the marketplace. Are these men my enemies? Should I be afraid of them?
I made peace with the truth of Psalms 118:6-7 just like King David when facing difficult men: “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; He is my helper.”
At ISK, I lived on a closed, tightly secured compound with my team of educators. Guns, bodyguards, armored vehicles, and daily security restrictions became normal. I felt protected, as we provided top level safety measures for the school, staff, and children who came to learn every day.
Could something still happen to me? Was I afraid?
I was afraid. Not all the time, but often. More than a dozen Christians that I knew personally lost their lives during my years in Afghanistan. I drew closer to the Lord and found a new level of trust in His sovereign plan for my life. Even if my worst fear came true, I belonged to Him for eternity and offered my earthly life to His purposes. I chose to believe the words of 1 Peter 3:14: “But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.”
Does your need for safety and the absence of fear drive your responses to God's ministry opportunities and callings?