Sunday, July 27, 2014

God Saves a Palestinian Woman

"God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it."  John 3:17

God’s love reaches to all people, including Palestinians. I asked Sadia if I could share her story here and she agreed. You will be encouraged! Even though she was willing to have her real name used I have chosen to give her the name Sadia. Here is her story:

“I grew up in Baghdad, Iraq but am a Palestinian. My dad was an alcoholic which caused my mom to separate from him. My family were not practicing Muslims. I learned about Islam at school but was not religious except when I needed help from God and then I prayed. At 20 years old I married Abdul who is also Palestinian. Along with a large group of Palestinians we left Iraq and settled in a UN refugee camp in Syria for five years. I experienced so much fear, insecurity, and trauma and hated others. I cried out to God why He made me a Palestinian. I was afraid of God and being punished by Him and having bad luck.

A church sponsored my family to Canada. When they said “welcome” at the airport it gave me peace and joy. They helped us a lot. Nevertheless, my fears about the unknown continued to bother me. Then I had 3 dreams where God began revealing Jesus to me. The first dream God said, “Sadia, I am with you and your children. I love you.” The second dream Jesus said, “Follow me.”  The third dream Jesus gave me a cross. I kept hearing His voice. It was like something was pushing me towards the voice. This all left me confused. What did the dreams mean? I was Muslim but the dreams were about Jesus and being a Christian. Finally I went to a psychiatrist to see if she could help me understand my confusing dreams but she said she couldn’t because she was Buddhist. She gave me the name of a Catholic church to go to so I could talk to a priest. I went and explained my dreams and asked him what they meant but he couldn’t answer my questions either. He told me to read the Bible but he didn’t give me one. Finally I confided in a lady I knew about the dreams and asked her how I could get an Arabic Bible.  She 'googled' how she could get one and also information about an Arabic church. Lo and behold, there was an Arabic church in my city! I called the pastor who explained about Jesus Christ to me.  I enjoy going to that fellowship now and have come to believe that Jesus is my Savior. He has changed me a lot. Before I hated people and now I can feel merciful towards them. He has saved me from my sin and given me new life. Before I was always afraid but now I know God loves me. My husband and I were both baptized and we are raising our children to follow Jesus.”

It is heart-warming to see how God took the initiative in revealing Himself to Sadia and kept pursuing her. He heard Sadia’s cries and saved her.

Dear heavenly Father, help me to know how to answer a searching Muslim woman’s questions.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hearing Hagar's Cries

"When the water was gone, she(Hagar) put the boy(Ishmael) in the shade of a bush.  Then she went and sat down by herself about a hundred yards away. “I don’t want to watch the boy die,” she said, as she burst into tears. But God heard the boy crying and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, “Hagar, what’s wrong? Do not be afraid! God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Go to him and comfort him, for I will make a great nation from his descendants.”  Genesis 21:15-18

These days we see television scenes of women and children in Gaza trying to find shelter from the destruction that missiles bring upon their homes and neighborhoods.  Sometimes they are fleeing for safety on donkey carts or are huddled in school rooms. Frequently we see the exhausted distressed faces of hijab clad women or of their young adorable children crying. Occasionally a scene is televised of the suffering women wailing after they have lost a loved one. I can not bear to view these pathetic scenes. They disturb me tremendously. I care about what they are going through. It is as if I can feel their pain and sorrow and hear their cries and I feel helpless to alleviate their suffering. These women and children are innocent victims. How can they survive and recover physically and emotionally from this ordeal?

I'm sure these precious Muslim women’s cries are being heard by God – even this day. He heard Hagar’s cries in the wilderness and came to her. He saw her suffering and her need of water. He saw not only that helpless unfortunate woman, but also her beloved son, Ishmael.  And He loved them. He revealed Himself to Hagar and then provided for their urgent need of water in order to survive. I don’t know how God will respond to the cries of these Muslim women but I'm sure He will. I am praying it will happen soon. He doesn't ignore anyone’s cries for help. God, have mercy!

Recently a Muslim woman asked me, “How do you feel about what is going on?” She was waiting to hear “whose side” I am on. These are sensitive days and sensitive issues both politically and religiously. It’s not only Muslims who want to know “whose side” I am on but church wants to know, too. I am on “God’s side.” He hears the cries of the oppressed and broken, whoever they might be on either political or religious side. I suspect during these last few days of Ramadan there will be many cries poured out from the hearts of Muslim women. He will hear them. He heard Hagar’s cries. I hope I will always have ears to hear their cries and not be deaf or apathetic to them.

Dear heavenly Father, please come to the aid of distressed Muslim women. In Jesus’ name, Amen.