Thursday, February 14, 2008

An Open Letter To Cyd Mizell on Valentine's Day

Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Phil. 1:19-21)

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Phil. 3:8-11)

Dear Cyd,

As much as I've thought about you and prayed for you these past 3 1/2 weeks, I find myself almost speechless when it comes to addressing you personally. There is so much I want to say - and yet words are beyond inadequate, they seem almost ... absurd.

And yet I have to write this letter. I have to tell you what has been in my heart over the past few weeks, since your face became emblazoned in my memory and your smile written on my heart.

My heart leapt when news emerged you were captured. Knowing people in that part of the world, I immediately wanted to pick up the phone to check on them. I can't of course, and unfortunately my initial reaction was typically American and selfish -- I wanted to make sure that those I personally know were safe. I prayed for you that night, but I prayed for them more. For that, I apologize.

The next day when the dust settled and your name was released, I began to pray for you. Confession time: I felt sorry for you and angry that someone who meant such good could be mistreated. I felt helpless and unsure how to pray.

Two days later, 500 Afghan women protested on your behalf. Knowing that culture, I realized the risk these women took, and admired you for the impact you must have had on their lives for them to take a stand for you. Their protest also served as a condemnation on our western church mindset. I questioned whether I could get 500 people together to pray for you. I decided to call my Congressman and Senators, then yours, and finally ended frustrated at a system that seemed to circumvent doing anything to actually help you. The day ended with me determined that nothing could help but prayer.

And then the weeks began to drag on ... and on ... and on. Your father spoke on YouTube. Your organization began posting updates that came less and less frequently - a reminder that everyone was truly clueless about the situation. Only God knows where you are. And as James 5 reminds us, even one person's prayers can make a difference. So, I pressed on to try to be that person -- failing more than succeeding, I confess, as the days wore on. And I still felt sorry for you, fearful of what you were experiencing.

But yesterday, I stopped feeling sorry for you. You see, I discovered that you have something in common with the Apostle Paul! My readings in Philippians 1 and 3 gave me renewed vigor to pray for you. I've realized that you are sharing in the sufferings of Christ - and how can I deny you that honor? I must say that I don't envy you, but I no longer pity you.

Now I pray that you will perservere.

I pray that you will have strength and not be ashamed.

I pray that our Lord will be honored in your body - in this imprisonment just as in your service, and if He wills, in your death.

I pray for your parents to experience His peace.

Yes, I pray for your deliverance. I pray that we will get to hear your story.

And I thank God on this Valentine's Day that whatever happens, our God is both a God of refuge and strength, and a God of love. We can trust Him. And I trust Him with you.

In His Grip,
A fellow traveler

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


As a techie traveler who use to help you with computers and sound at a familiar place, I wanted you to know that I too have you and your family in our prayers. I know you an I know you are in His hands and I know you know it too! Take courage! ALL THINGS work together for the good to those who know HIM!!!

Your Friend,
The Computer Guy!