Arrested by Law
Andrew Chan was one of the ringleaders of the Bali Nine, a group of Australians who were convicted for smuggling 8.3 kg of heroin out of Indonesia in April 2005. Indonesia is tough on drug offenders. When convicted, Andrew became desperate. He wanted to die, but was afraid to face eternity because of something in the back of his mind from his childhood.
When Andrew was younger, growing up in a Buddhist home in Sydney, Australia, a neighbor named Luke took him to Sunday School, and Andrew heard the gospel clearly presented. What if there really was a life after death?
Arrested By Grace
Andrew asked the guards for a Bible and began reading voraciously. With a little guidance from Luke who visited the prison, Andrew came to saving faith. The gospel transformed him completely.
A short time later, the sentences were announced: most of the nine received life sentences; Chan and the other ringleader received the death penalty. Puzzling God’s purposes, Andrew poured himself into ministry. As he appealed his sentence, he used the next 10 years of his life to lead over 200 prisoners to the Lord, baptize them, run Bible-studies, finish seminary online; he even started a church within the prison!
“So I suppose I’m thankful that every day I actually get to wake up. As you know, I’m studying and, you know, a lot of people might say that it’s probably no use. Look where you’re staying! But I believe God has given me this time for a purpose.” Andrew Chan, 2012 interview
Finishing With Worship
Andrew did two things just hours before he died: he married his sweetheart, Febyanti Herewila, and prepared a eulogy to be read at his funeral in Sydney. He was executed for his crimes on Indonesia’s “Death Island” on April 29, 2015.
But Andrew was a man ready to meet his Maker. Dispelling fear, he led the other prisoners in singing praises to the Lord as the firing squad made ready. They were on the second verse of 10,000 Reasons when the shots fired.
You’re rich in love and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great and Your heart is kind …
Dispelling Fear by Calling The Name
In my last blogpost, I emphasized the second phrase in Psalm 69:30: “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.” When we magnify the Lord, His hiddenness dissolves and His presence becomes more obvious.
But in the first phrase, the Psalmist states he will sing praise to the name of the Lord. In fact, devout Jews refer to God only as “Hashem” – the Name. Proverbs 18:10 likens the name of the Lord to a strong tower; a person who runs to it is safe.
Angst and fear become fidgety around the name of Jesus. They are unwelcome and ill-fitting guests in His company. Like darkness that cannot fight back against light, anxiety begins to fade.
Have you ever sung a song that uses the names of God? Remember Jesus, Name Above All Names? My husband wrote a few more verses for that song highlighting more names of the Lord.
Jesus, Name Above All Names
Jesus, Name above all names,
Beautiful Savior, Glorious Lord,
Emmanuel, God is with us,
Blessed Redeemer, Living Word.
Jesus, Splendid Creator,
Mighty Sustainer, Sov’reign of all that is,
The Cornerstone, Daystar and Dayspring,
Wonderful Couns’lor, Prince of Peace.
Jesus, Lion of Judah,
Root of Jesse, humble Nazarene,
Anointed One, Son of David,
Blessed Messiah, Coming King.
Jesus, Man of Sorrows,
Kinsman Redeemer, scorned and rejected,
The Lamb of God, spotless yet suffering,
Buried, then risen up from the grave.
Jesus, Faithful and True One,
Alpha, Omega, Ancient of Days,
The angels, falling before Thee,
Join with our voices, echo our praise.
In the morning when I worship the Lord in thanksgiving, I love to rehearse the names of the Lord: “You are Elohim, El Elyon, El Shaddai, El Roi, Adonai, Yahweh, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Nissi, Jehovah Rapha, Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah Sabaoth, Jehovah Mekoddishkem, Jehovah Tsidkenu, Jehovah Rohi, Jehovah Shammah.”
How about creatively designing a thanksgiving song of your own focusing on the Names of God that dispel fear?