Books are incredible in the gifts and opportunities they provide. How else can you step into different cultures, be exposed to every side in an argument, travel in time, and witness torture, intrigue, and exceptional heroism without leaving your chair? Movies attempt to be a substitute for our page-filled treasures, but they are hardly qualified. They don’t stretch the mind as books demand in order to step into the protagonist’s shoes, hear the voices, and develop an opinion based on the depth of detail the ink and paper give.
I recently traveled to Iraq and Palestine through the eyes and voices of two very different heroes. The former was an American navy chaplain who was with the first Marine regiment to invade Iraq after 9/11, and eventually liberated Baghdad from Saddam Hussein’s henchmen. The latter hero was known as the Prince of Hamas. Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of a respected leader in Hamas. Initially considering participating in terrorist activities, he was captured by the Israelis and recruited to become a spy for them. During his years of espionage he saved countless Jewish and American lives; he eventually sought political asylum in the United States and now lives here.
It wasn’t until after I finished both books that I noticed a unique parallel between these books. Lt.Carey H. Cash recognized that the assualt on the terrorist strongholds in Baghdad was more than an overthrow of tyranny; it was a battle against the very threat of evil itself. This evil had murdered countless innocent, mocked God, and scorned justice. If not stopped, it would permeat the entire world and there would be no refuge. In order to fight this evil the American warriors needed to call on God, the ultimate Warrior and defender of truth and purity.
Only a few countries another battle was underway against the very same evil, only this warrior was doing much of the fighting on his own and just beginning to discover his new Lord and Master. Though it went against his entire upbringing and forced him to often betray his family and firends, Mosab identified the injustice of it all and chose to defend what was right.
A Table in the Presence by Lt. Carey H. Cash and Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef confirmed to me that there is only one right side and that is God’s side. Evil may disguise itself as a cultural tradition, a way of life, a justified sentiment. But ultimately it is simply rebellion against God. Both Cash and Yousef saw the truth and chose to fight on God’s side, though in any other circumstance they would have viewed each other as enemies. Both men only had victory because they were following the same leader and He came through for both men. They had turned their lives over to Him and acted courageously in the confidence that filled their hearts from knowing that they were fighting on His side – they only valid side worth fighting for.