"But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up" (Daniel 3:18).
Some time ago, I took a class trip with some fellow classmates. Our trip led us to a mosque one Friday morning. An assignment was given by our religion teacher to visit a religion other then Christianity and observe and write a paper about the experience.
Many of us were curious so we all drove to this mosque not knowing what was about to happen. We were expected as we arrived because we had called ahead of time to see if we could visit and observe. They were polite and were about to start their prayer.
We took our place in the back after removing our shoes and observed. As the prayer and chanting began, it seemed as though a spirit came over the place. Not a calm spirit but one of warning. As their session of prayer ended, we were asked to please stand with them. As they concluded, we all stood and lined up in the back and then we were asked to bow down to Allah and pray with them. I looked to my left and I saw my fellow classmates on their knees praying to Allah. Only three of us stayed standing and did not participate. My mind went to Daniel as I stood there and looked around. Although our lives were not on the line, I could see how fast a person’s decision can be made under those types of circumstances. We were not under a death sentence if we didn't not bow but we were under the influence of our peers. To three of us it did not matter.
After the service was done they treated us kindly and shook our hands and thanked us for coming and the imam graciously answered our questions. He told us something that I still find today to be true---that the majority of Muslim’s are friendly people who want peace and want to raise their families in peace. Those Muslims that you hear about on TV are the radicals. Even if the Quran says bad things all they want is peace here in the U.S., according to the Iman.
Aside from what the Imam was telling us, what came next was interesting as we headed for our cars. Those who bowed began to justify why they did it. Some said it was out of respect, others they didn’t know why they bowed. As I contemplated these actions, I thought to myself what will others do when death or other sanctions are given to them as a consequence if they do not bow or except the Mark.
So here was a test with no threat of harm, and the majority of our group failed while three young men stayed standing that day in the mosque. What will be the outcome when the world is tested by way of death, starvation, loss of income etc...? Are we preparing ourselves daily for the true test of faith, or are are we giving in to the world and making excuses in order to compromise?
"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13).
Ray Chavez is an AFCOE graduate and elder of his church in Albuquerque, NM. He is happily married to Jessica and they currently have one daughter.