Mary was only seventeen when Muslim fanatics raided her village in Lebanon. Mary and her parents were confronted with a grueling choice: “Become a Muslim, or you will be shot.”
Mary boldly told the man, “I choose God. Go ahead and shoot.” Mary and her family were shot and left for dead. Two days later, the Red Cross arrived in the village and found a miracle. Mary was alive—paralyzed by the bullet wound.
Devastated and grieving, Mary clung to her faith and prayed. Finally a strange peace came over her. She made this commitment to God: “Everyone has a job to do. I can never marry or do any physical work. So I will offer my life for the Muslims, like the ones who killed my father and mother and tried to kill me. My life will be a prayer for them."
Her prayers and her undeniable witness of Christ brought many Muslims to faith in the Son of God. In Lebanon, 1990 was the fiercest year of the fifteen-year civil war. Thousands were killed or wounded, and hundreds of thousands fled. However, Mary’s offering of her wounded life encouraged many Christians to stay and take a stand for Christ.
The greatest gift to God’s service will not fit in an offering plate. When we view our entire lives as offerings to God, our resources to benefit his kingdom are unlimited. Many of those who have been persecuted like Mary share a similar story. They continue to offer their lives to serve those who oppress them as an act of worship. Therese of Lisieux once noted, “Sufferings gladly borne for others convert more people than sermons.” The majority of Christians will find it easy to make the usual excuses for offering their lives: “too busy” and “too much going on.” However, God can reveal unique ways that we can be witnesses for Him.