Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Welcomes and Rejections

“….He(Jesus) was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.” I Peter 2:4b
Afsana wanted to have weekly English conversation practice with me and I agreed. She is a secular Muslim, well acquainted with the world of hookah bars, movies and western fashions. On our first visit I perceived a deep spiritual emptiness. She asked me what I do. I replied, “I teach the Bible to anyone interested.” Suddenly she got up and fetched a small Bible in her language. It was well read and underlined. I was shocked. “Where did you get that, Afsana?” I asked. “In the black market in my country,” she answered. What normally takes months to talk about came pouring out of this poor woman’s soul. Not only was I welcomed but I was ushered far into the private ‘house of her life.’

I met Hanan at a closing ESL program. She was dressed conservatively and had a look of sadness about her. I approached her after the program and she welcomed me to visit her in her apartment. It didn’t take long until the reasons for her sadness were disclosed. She had gone through three abusive marriages and grew up in a broken home. It was tough being a single mom in her new adopted land. I spent considerable time taking her to stores, filling out forms, visited her after surgery, and gave her a helping hand whenever there was a need. I prayed for her often and gave her a Bible. Our relationship grew sweet and I felt protective of her.

What joy to be warmly welcomed into the lives of Afsana and Hanan! However, both of these dear ladies also rejected me. Afsana suddenly dropped ‘off the radar’, so to speak. There was no goodbye or warning. Afsana had come to understand that she would need to make a choice about following Jesus one way or the other and she decided to run. Then one day I received a package in the mail from Hanan. In it was the Bible I had given her, my family photo and a card thanking me for everything I had done for her but she wanted no more communication with me. I stared at the card in disbelief. One moment a welcome, the next rejection. No more cups of tea. We are blessed with many open doors and welcomes but we must also be willing to walk the same road of rejection Jesus experienced. Rejection hurts a lot. We may decide never to invest in another Muslim woman’s life again. If you have been rejected I encourage you to spend time alone with Jesus and tell Him your hurt and ask Him to comfort you by His Holy Spirit. You will discover the sweet fellowship of the Comforter because you have entered the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. Just don’t let it cause you to abandon reaching out to other Muslim women. Please don’t give up.

Dear heavenly Father, when I think of how people reject Jesus as Savior I wonder how Your heart doesn’t break and why You don’t give up with mankind. I think I don’t understand the depths of Your love. Help me! In Jesus’ name, Amen.