Monday, April 19, 2010

Back Doors

“...What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes no one can open. I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close...” Revelation 3: 7b-8a

The question I am asked more than any other is “how do you meet Muslim women?” I would have to say that in divine mysterious ways God opens doors for me. I don’t design or plan our meetings.

I met Amal in a roundabout way. She slipped in unannounced to an English conversation practice time I was holding and made herself at home. Now I was invited to Amal’s home to be interviewed for an assignment. A Libyan friend was there keeping her company. Amal introduced me to Manal who was newly arrived in my country. I couldn’t go beyond introduction comments as she had almost zero English. Manal just sat there and looked at Amal and me working on her assignment, absorbing all the unfamiliar dynamics of a relationship with a foreigner. When the assignment was completed the real purpose of the visit was made clear. “Would you please help Manal with learning English, Joy?” I was delighted to get into another Libyan home. I love Libyan women. They have so little contact with anyone outside of their Libyan community. It is very rare for a Libyan woman to get a hearing of the Good News or meet a follower of Jesus face to face either in her own country or my country. I had prayed so often that the Lord would help me to meet Libyan women but I couldn’t make it happen. They usually keep to themselves and I couldn’t find the way in. Now my heart began to beat fast with an inner yes! I agreed to visit Manal in her home. A short while later I made the trip to the address she gave me. It was situated in one of the most run down areas of a city where there is alot of crime. As I drove up I groaned. Some of the houses around Manal’s home were vacant and boarded up. I went up to Manal’s front door which was boarded up and knocked. I knocked harder. No answer. There was no door bell. Now what, I thought? Was I really at the right place? I went around to the side door and knocked repeatedly. Still no answer. It, too, was boarded up. Then I got my cell phone out of my purse and called her. I could hear the phone ring inside. A person answered, “Come around to the back door.” I noticed there was no doorbell there, either. I wondered how anyone was supposed to get in!

As I stood there waiting to get into Manal’s home the first time I thought how symbolic it was spiritually of trying to get into the lives of Muslim women. Sometimes it seems impossible to make the connection. God really does open doors for us but they are not always the normal “front doors” you would expect. In fact I would have to say that it has rarely been the “front doors”(direct contact) that open for me. The “side doors”(connections and referrals) and “back doors”(unusual meetings) open in surprising ways. In God's time and way, He will open the door for you.

Dear heavenly Father, a Christian sister of mine wants to see a door open to be able to make contact with a Muslim lady. She has waited a long time and the desire won’t go away. Please show her that You can open the door for her. You have the power. Prepare the Muslim lady even this day for the moment the door opens. Perhaps You have been waiting for the Muslim lady to be ready. We trust Your timing. In Jesus name, Amen.