This morning I got the chance to be able to go and volunteer with an organization called Jerusalem Outreach. They are Palestinian evangelists. I went with another JUC student and the wife and daughter of one of the JUC masters’ students. We were asked to do very mundane assembly line work. They were assembling story books with Bible stories. The books that they had received were missing pages and had to have two sticker pages placed in them as well as stamped/stickered with their contact info in the front cover. There were quite a lot of books, but time definitely flew with the conversation being fantastic and company even better. About 10 o’clock we were joined by an Arab woman who spoke a tiny bit of English. She was very nice. We didn’t talk too much because there was a quite a language gap, but we did get to learn a few Arabic words. I learned that good morning is, “Sebach il-cheir.” That is terribly transliterated…but that’s the best I have…it might actually be wrong too, but who knows! It was definitely a good time. At about 1:30 we finished all of the boxes of books having fully equipped them with pages and stickers and the two people in charge drove us back to JUC’s campus. On our short 7 minute drive we got into a conversation about how Muslims came to know Jesus as their savior. Most Muslims are secret believers because of the extreme persecution that would become if they were public with it. At one point it was said that 25% of Muslim Background Believers (those Christians who come from a muslim background) come to know Jesus because He had appeared to them in a dream and because of that they choose to forego their Muslim life and pursue Christianity. twenty-five percent. It was also said that in North Africa it a frequent thing for missionaries to show up in villages where the people tell them stories about how they once Muslim until one day, there was a miracle healing amongst their villagers, and because of it the whole village left their Muslim ways and believed in the True God, they tore down their mosques and made them into churches. When this happened they had no idea who God was and had no Bible and had never met a missionary or ever heard anything of the Gospel, yet they still had such a faith through just one miracle to follow blindly a God they barely knew.
What serious faith it would take to forsake entirely the faith that you had always known and turn 180 degrees to follow faithfully a God who you knew almost nothing about. There is almost so much to say that I can barely begin to put words to how hearing these things makes me feel. Our God is a God who reveals Himself to people in dreams and healings SO VIVIDLY that these people, knowing nothing about Him at all completely chase after Him and let everything they’ve ever known go. This God is the God we seem to have read about in our Bibles from day one of our spiritual journey. Why then is it that as Americans we so easily accept the idea that “God just doesn’t work with those types of miracles anymore?” That is the biggest load of crap I have ever heard. My God, your God, the True God still shows up and reveals Himself in such manifest ways. How amazing it will be for those Muslim Background Believers to reach heaven and hear, “Well done good and faithful servant” from God because they turned aside with almost no “proof” (by Western standards) and chose to follow God. We barely follow God and we have the WORLD to use to know Him, our Bibles, the Church, the miracles in our lives (that we don’t even see), everything. Yet they had nothing but a single vision and no knowledge of the Bible and they still whole heartedly pursued God.
It reminds me so much of Luke 16 in the parable about the rich man and Lazarus where after death the rich man begs Abraham to rise Lazarus from the dead to go tell his family so that they might not be condemned. Abraham says this to them in verse 31, “If they do not listen to Moses and te Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.” That is our story as westerners. We have been given so much, the Bible and the Church and miracles (even the small ones) in everyday life, and yet we don’t see God. And it is true, if we cannot listen to that, we wouldn’t be persuaded even by the big miracles. There are so many things that are hugely miraculous that we write off as “science” or “nature” or whatever it might be, but really? God shows up. And even through “the rising of the dead” we don’t see it.
twenty-five percent. that is a huge number. 25% of all Muslim Background Believers come to know Jesus and the True God through His revealing Himself through a dream or vision. God shows up. God rescues. That is our God. Thank the LORD that is OUR GOD. I cannot help but worship Him hearing that. That we have a God who is still alive and active and pursuing. My heart cannot contain itself. I have no words to describe the joy that it brings to know that God shows up to rescue His people. To rescue us. Hallelujah.