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Massive sandstorm protects new Christians from militants

An approaching sandstorm in Al Assad, Iraq in 2005. Credit: US Marine Corp/Wikipedia

An approaching sandstorm in Al Assad,
Iraq in 2005. Credit: US Marine Corps/Wikipedia

Bibles for Mideast (BFM), an organization that shares the Gospel and uses teams to smuggle Bibles into Middle Eastern countries, recently shared a story of how God used a sandstorm to protect recent converts from probably certain death.

According to their report, several converts from an unnamed Middle Eastern country had requested water baptism from the organization. Early one morning, BFM team members transported the 24 candidates and friends, 50 in total, on a bus for a baptism service in the Arabian Sea.

The organization noted that before baptism, candidates typically spend three days fasting and praying.

They made it to the ocean, had their baptism, and were heading back to a house church for worship and communion, when gunmen came up behind them in cars and started shooting at the bus.

Because of this very danger they had tried to keep the baptism secret, but somehow the extremists had found out. They had either been told or perhaps saw the baptism taking place.

The report stated:

“Suddenly some militants reached behind us by three or more cars and started shooting with guns towards us,” Rizwan, a new baptizer told.”

There was no doubt, the militants would murder this group of believers if they caught them.

The Christians started praying to God for protection and help came in an unexpected way.

As the pursuit continued, they noticed a dust storm approaching.

The Mideast dust storms, called simoons or haboos, are unlike what we have in the west and can often be very dangerous. The fronts of the larger storms are upwards of a mile high.

At first the group feared the storm but as it enveloped them and their pursuers, they could still hear shots being fired, but could no long see the pursuing vehicles.

Eventually the militants had no choice but to break off the chase.

The Bible tells us that sometimes God is in the storms we encounter:

“When you were in trouble, you called for help, and I set you free. I was hidden in the storm clouds, and I answered you. I tested you by the water at Meribah.” (Psalm 81:7 ERV)

This isn’t the first time God used a wind to protect believers. We are told that an East wind blew all night parting the waters of the Red Sea allowing the Israelis to escaped the pursing Egyptians during the Exodus (Exodus 14:21).

In 2010, researchers with the US National Center for Atmospheric Research produced a video animation showing how a wind could have parted the sea through a process called “wind seltdown.” They concluded that a 63 mph wind over a few hours was all that was needed to push the waters back.


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