Prayer for Ms. Mizzel: Missionary to Afghanistan

I have not met this woman. I have only heard report of her through another lady within my church and that only once, but such reports are cases of earnest prayer to our Father in heaven and belief in His Word, that God will use such circumstances to display the honor of His name and advance the Gospel of Christ.

Cyd Mizzel is a Christian missionary to Afghanistan who has been kidnapped by Afghani rebels, a woman in her early forties, never married, singularly captured, whether for being a woman or a Christian or both, no one really knows, and no one has heard any report of her situation since her imprisonment. Her church, our church, and many others have continually lifted up our prayers for her in our services over these past few weeks, and my plea here is for a continued pursuit in prayer to our God for her safety, boldness, witness, and the softening of rebel hearts to Christ. That we ought to knock on the door of God’s throne room constantly for her and for them is both obvious and eternally pertinent, both privately and corporately. My hope is that God will incline our hearts to a great and timely supplication.

And she is one of many thousands, yet unknown altogether, who are suffering for the sake of the name of Jesus Christ. These have gone out with the command and offer of the Gospel to bring the nations to the obedience of faith, and we need, I need, to uplift them in prayer. Upon their return, I think that many would deem our prayers the most necessary and appreciated means of support and grace. My charge to us all is that we might shrink the disassociation that we have with many of our Christian missionaries. If our earthly sibling took up a great philanthropic cause in a foreign country and found occasion of need while amongst the nations, gasping as it were for life, both for their own and that of the individuals under their charge, would we not be moved to earnest and daily works of supplication for them and of provision to accomplish the task? How much more those whom by faith in Christ we stand united as brothers and sisters in Christ, when they enter the occasion of suffering for Christ which is the blessed grace and promise of Scripture (Phil. 1:28-30), ought we to pray for them and supply their missionary need (Phil. 2:25-30)?

Until further report upon the condition of Ms. Mizzel, and for our encouragement in suffering for the sake of Christ and the Gospel, I have found great substance from God’s Word in the imprisonment epistle of the apostle Paul to heap my hope and trust upon. “Gospel imprisonment” God blesses as a seed of greatest type, bringing to tremendous fruition:

“I (Paul) want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear,” Phil. 1:12-14.

God blesses Gospel imprisonment; imprisonment for the sake of Jesus Christ, which imprisonment had and does occur because of the proclamation of that name amongst the nations. Imprisonment “happened” to Paul because of his missionary endeavor with the Gospel of Christ. He made the primary thing the primary thing; that is, though I am sure he engaged in missionary activity, he made preaching the Gospel and defending the Gospel his utmost priority, and we ought to imitate our Lord and the apostle on this point. The solid hope that overwhelms the soul is what God does and what God imparts from the affliction of His Christ-enlisted soldiers:

1. Gospel imprisonment “advances the Gospel”. When the missionary is taken captive by Christ, they are soon taken captive for Christ, and their “captivity” serves to “free” the Gospel, to advance it. God seems to use captivity both for the development of the captive, for the penetration of those normally hidden from Gospel conversation (the “imperial guards”), and for a witness to “all the rest”.
2. Gospel imprisonment is “for Christ”. When Christ was taken captive by the hands of men, He was thereby crucified, and God made use of the imprisonment and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ to procure the salvation of those very same men; and so after the pattern of our Lord, Paul, and we who follow them, God uses as vessels of mercy and of Gospel propagation by the very fact of our imprisonment for that cause.
3. The maintenance of Gospel witness in the midst of Gospel inprisonment God uses mightily to bring many under Gospel conviction so that all know that the captivity is “for Christ”.
4. Gospel imprisonment advances the Gospel by emboldening the Church; by the faith of one, so the many are made bold; by the passion of the one, so the many are made passionate; by the chains of one, so the many have their tongues made free for Christ and Him crucified. The “brothers” became “confident in the Lord by” Paul’s “imprisonment”.
5. Gospel imprisonment removes human apprehensiveness for the Gospel. The brothers were more bold to “speak the word without fear”. God-begotten boldness in one breeds God-begotten boldness in others. When one loves God more than he fears men and their attacks, others are infused with a like love that overcomes the obstacles to evangelism.
6. The knowledge that God is the Author of such things, that the imprisonment was “for Christ”, encourages our faith and trust in a faithful God who works in accordance with the kind intention of His will; and this is why it is written that it is a thing “granted” or “graced” to us “that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake,” Phil. 1:29.
7. And so, God authorizes and makes use of Gospel imprisonment to advance the Gospel by way of the captive’s witness for Christ, boldness for Christ, love for Christ, and the imputation of such godly attributes to the Church, who so emboldened and powerfully encouraged, move forward with the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our God is an awesome God, and what He does, and how He attends to the means of His ends, are wonderful in our eyes, and they shall remain wonderful still when it is you or I that become those means of grace in the face of suffering. The Christian does not seek out suffering for the sake of suffering, but they seek the face of Christ, and so quite naturally, follows chains of some sort, whether on the wrists, or over the tongue. The challenge is to understand the truth of God’s Word through Paul “that my imprisonment is for Christ”, that it serves to “advance the Gospel”, and the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world…I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world,” John 16:33, 17:14-16.

Let us pray for Ms. Mizzel with great expectation that God will deliver her by our prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil:1:19), while advancing the Gospel by her imprisonment, and granting each of us a measure of her love for Christ that we may be more passionate and able to endeavor forward, boldly speaking “the word without fear”. Amen.

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