Why God Calls Us to Dangerous Places

Kate McCord

Why God Calls us to Dangerous Places is a collection of testimonies woven together with Bible verses by Kate McCord, looking at what happens when people get called by God to a dangerous place.  McCord wants to relay to her readers that it is amongst great suffering people can experience a deeper relationship with Christ.

The author is an American Christian writer, coach and speaker writing under the pseudonym of Kate McCord for her own protection.  McCord lived in Afghanistan for nine years where she worked as a humanitarian aid worker.

The purpose of this book is to convey, using key Bible verses alongside her own testimonies and those of others, that when someone is called to a dangerous place the effect can be one of great rewards.  McCord describes that these rewards of knowing Christ and the heart of God more deeply is not only for the person sent but also those people who send and support.

The book consists of twelve chapters, which commence with McCord reflecting on her recent years in Afghanistan.  She speaks about the stresses, threats of kidnap, riots and explosions around her, being instrumental in her leaving Afghanistan.  Whilst McCord was in America during 2010 a team of foreign medical workers, known to her, were executed in Afghanistan.  This led her to ask the question about why people go to where Christ calls them and to also explore God’s love for people.

The author shares about her own doubts when called to Afghanistan in 2001, along with the mixed responses and questions of brothers and sisters in Christ.  She weaves the Bible story of John and James into her own, commenting on how they too probably wondered what Jesus’ vision was when he called them.  An opportunity of seeing “astonishing things” is the answer she offers to that question.  We are drawn into the reality that others share in the journey to dangerous places apart from those who are physically sent.  These family, friends and supporters also worry, experiencing both joy and grief along the way. 

Speaking about the difficulties leaving the comfort and safety of America to go to a challenging land the author expresses how this journey helped her in learning more about Christ, growing in him along the way.  Sometimes the experience was glorious and other times one of great darkness.  She reminds us of how hardships should not be unexpected, as Jesus said “in the world you will have tribulation”.  There is mention too of the fact that Jesus would not call us to a place where he himself has not first been.  The importance of prayer and the rewards of such are discussed.  When McCord prayed with, and witnessed to, local people this led to answered prayers and relationship growth within the community.  We are reminded about the importance churches sending people to go to these dangerous lands, so that there can be a witness of Christ to the people.  God wants to fill his table with these people too, bringing his precious children home to him at his table. 

Reading McCord’s story focused my mind on the importance of not doing things alone, and the necessity to include others on our journey through life.  She concentrates on the need to rely on God amongst what is often pain and desperation, in order to receive the rewards that Christ has for us.  The way in which she weaves scripture in amongst her own stories with great relevance I found refreshing, giving me confidence that she writes including good Biblical perspective.  What a privilege it was to have insight of the author’s own great dedication to daily prayer and worship.

It was painful reading as the author shares something of what she was privy to whilst meeting with the local people.  However, even in that frustrating place rife with injustice, danger and poverty it was wonderful to glean the hope she relays when sharing conversations she had had about God with Afghans.  I think it was powerful the way in which McCord does not let us forget God’s love for people even those suffering in dangerous places.  She writes of how God himself, by coming to earth as Jesus, knows so well how it is to live in such a place.

I found it very humbling reading how McCord shares her feelings of inadequacy in knowing what to say in different situations, and wonderful to read about her reliance on the holy spirit for guidance with words and scriptures to share.  Having prayed and shared scriptures with people how encouraging that she was able to trust God and his timing for his truth to become clear in people’ s lives.

Using examples of how God uses different people and their individual gifts to go, or support those going, to dangerous places gave good emphasis on how this experience is not for a select few.  The important message conveyed is that we need to enable the light of Jesus to shine even in these challenging places, and that each of us has something to offer however diverse to enable this to happen.

Reading this book has been very rewarding to experience McCord’s openness about her deep struggles and also precious rewards when stepping out in faith, seeking God’s heart and relying on him.  The way in which she commences each chapter with a Bible verse and then ends each with a summary discussion guide I thought was a valuable way in keeping one focused.

Stories detailing vast suffering and injustice in dangerous places can stir up great negativity.  However, this book has been really helpful in highlighting that when God calls his people to these destinations there are great benefits when people have reliance upon him.  This reliance is not only for those travelling but also for family, friends and supporters left behind.  Knowing and seeing what it is to become totally dependent on God through desperate times of suffering, loss and even death is life changing.  It is the walking day-to-day in close relationship with Jesus that we come into deeper knowledge of his sacrificial love and the astonishing, life-giving effects of such.  Importantly these dangerous journeys are about people growing in their understanding of God’s heart and sharing his love and hope with others.

Reviewed by Sarah T

Sarah T, having lived in the Middle East and Central Asia for many years, now lives in the UK working as a Community Worker amongst the ethnically diverse community helping refugees and asylum seekers to integrate well into UK life. Her passion is to work towards peaceful cross-cultural relationships, where respect and God’s love is shown to people who arrive in the UK from the Middle East and war-torn lands. Additionally Sarah enjoys working as part-time administrator with OSCAR.