Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Power of the Word

“For the word of God is full of living power…” Hebrews 4: 12a
Irene was all excited. God had uniquely designed that she would live near Layla, a Muslim lady who is well educated and successful in the work force. She noticed that Layla didn’t have much hair and sensitively asked if she was on chemo. “Yes, I am,” she replied. Irene shared how she once had been on chemo, too, and could understand her painful journey. That chat led to many visits. “Would you like to read the Bible together, Layla?” Irene asked. Layla was surprisingly open. Irene spent many visits simply reading the Word of God with Layla. She didn’t study it or commentate on it – just read. They read through many books of the Bible and finally one day Layla commented, “I have accepted Jesus.” The Word of God has not been changed but it changes us.

Often we tell Muslims what the Bible says. How much more effective and powerful it is to read it. There are Muslim women who are illiterate. What do we do then? I have made friends with numerous women who are partly illiterate. Najibi came to our country illiterate even in her own language. She has been going to English school and is learning to read in English. I can’t give her a Bible. But I can sit with her and listen to her read stories from a Toddlers Bible Story book. The added bonus is that her children surround us and listen in on the stories!

I was visiting Suraya and for some unexplainable reason felt led to share what I had read in the Bible earlier that day. It was about sexual sin being tolerated in the Corinthian church. Suddenly Suraya disclosed the secret sexual abuse she had gone through. That started her journey towards wellness.

Not all Muslim women are interested in reading the Word of God. God frequently opens up opportunities for me to take my Bible out of my purse and read a story to them. Good idea to carry a Bible in your purse! Some are afraid to see the Bible. Shahina asked once if she could read the Bible with me but then backed out in fear. Many months later an opportunity arose. We were talking about a lady she knew by the name of Hagar. We started talking about that name and I asked if I could read the story of Hagar from the Bible. This time curiosity won out over fear. It led into an excellent opportunity to speak of God’s love for the people who descended from Ishmael.

Maryam, a Saudi lady, resisted in fear of reading the Word of God. All I could do was tell her about it. I urged her to read it at least for knowing history, if for no other reason. Still she resisted. Then one day, many months later, she surrendered her fear and asked for a Bible in Arabic.

Dear heavenly Father, I ask for more Muslim women to desire to read Your Word. Take away fear. In Jesus’ name, Amen.