Jan 03 2018
God named Ishmael ‘God hears’ before he was born. Years later, God heard Ishmael’s cry when he was perishing in the wilderness and opened his mother’s eyes to see a spring of water from which she gave him drink – and he lived!
Islam claims Ishmael as a spiritual forefather. Today’s Muslims are in the wilderness perishing and crying out for living water. Let the Church pray to the Father to reveal the well of living water, Jesus, so they might live!
As I contemplated the first GHPL of 2018, I felt the Lord was giving me a word: clarity. Clarity is the quality of
- being coherent and intelligible, certain or definite
- transparency or purity
- being easy to see or hear; sharpness of image or sound
But I wasn’t at all clear about how to apply it! Until… On the day when I usually sit down to begin writing, my attempt at making a comeback after the holidays was interrupted, first by a service provider who had spent the holidays grieving the passing of his wife of thirty years. Second was an international student, newly arrived in Canada, whom I’d offered to host until his accommodation at U of A was available. Both are entering a critically new phase of their lives, both have a story to tell, both have needs, both are Muslim.
And both, I realized eventually, were on Father’s heart. This is when I understood that the Lord was helping me clarify my mission at the beginning of this New Year.
You can imagine my shock when the first man, quite a bit younger than I am, answered in response to my polite question, “How were your holidays?” by saying, “Not so good. I lost my wife.” What could I possibly do or say in response? My spirit whispered, “Help me, God!” In the following conversation, he let me know he was asking why God would let his wife die when she was always helping people and let bad people live healthy lives into old age. He also let me know that, thanks to ISIS and other terrorists, he is fed up with Islam. By God’s grace, he welcomed me to pray for him and was very open to accepting a New Testament in his heart language.
The student is brilliant, confident, outgoing, and excited about all there is to learn in a new place. Was there any place where I could speak into his charmed life? Yes, I discovered, because he has thought carefully about his faith and made a choice to stick with it. Therefore, he is respectful towards those who’ve done the same. We had wonderful discussions, even about sensitive topics like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, without antagonism. When I dropped him off at U of A, he allowed me to pray for him and added his amen to every point.
God blessed me with these two contacts because He wanted me to be perfectly clear that His mission must be my mission. The Spirit enabled me to see these two Muslim men, not merely as interruptions to my intention to get a prayer letter about Muslims written on time, but as dearly beloved by Him. In fact, the name of one means “beloved” or “good friend” and the other’s means “prince”. How clear can the Lord possibly be!
Paul asked the Colossians to “pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ…that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak” (Col 4:3-5).
Let’s pray this simple prayer for ourselves and for the Church in the coming year, so that we have open doors to make the mystery of Christ intelligible.
Let’s pray it would be easy for us to see Muslims and hear their stories as God Himself sees and hears them, and respond to them with certainty of faith and in the purity of His overcoming love.
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