Sunday, January 1, 2017

Night Vision

“…Moses kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27b

Nothing is happening...or so it seems. Ruth wrote me, “I easily get upset or discouraged when my close friends are not open to Jesus even when the message is very clearly given. I know I need to continue to pray, but what else?...”

Anyone ministering among Muslims will certainly voice the same question. You have been befriending a Muslim woman for one year now and yet there is little evident interest in spiritual matters. You can feel like you are entering a dark tunnel. Even when you have brought things up there has been a resistance to talking further. She changes the subject every time. One time she got agitated when you referred to Jesus as God who appeared in the flesh and you were afraid there would be a full blown argument or a closed door to further friendship. You have tried to be kind and helpful. She will gladly receive your help and love. She has even said you are like her mother. But nothing spiritually is happening….or so it seems.

“…I know I need to continue to pray, but what else?” Ruth asked. Yes, something is missing. All is dark. She can’t see anything happening in her friend’s soul. What Ruth needs is night vision. You have seen those images on TV of troops in a war zone moving in upon the enemy during the night. There is amazing technology which can “see” in the dark what no one else can see with the natural eye. Every time I see those images I am reminded of how symbolic that is when I am trying to share the Good News with my Muslim friends. My “day vision” is pretty good. When something visible is happening I am encouraged. I can see that the Holy Spirit is at work. It is when I can’t see that troubles me and can even make me want to quit. No person should embark on ministering to Muslims without having provision for night vision situations. In spiritual language we call that provision faith. It is not easy to minister in faith anywhere in the Muslim world – but it is especially challenging in the West where marketing techniques and visible gauges for success abound. The hard slow work of removing the stones of ignorance, resistance, fear and opposition is often not tolerated long in the West. We want a quick harvest to show or we shut down or move on. I have often reflected on the lives of church fathers and mystics and pioneer missionaries to encourage me on. I cry out to God to keep me persevering in faith like they did. And He does provide more faith! From time to time the Spirit will give me a peek into what is happening in the invisible realm. Recently I ran into Ahmed in the mall and was shocked that God has been at work stirring up deep questions. I have waited and prayed for fifteen years for God to do something. I was astounded. God had not forgotten after all.

So, keep praying, waiting, and expecting by faith that God will do something. Suddenly it may be disclosed that our Muslim friend has been reading evangelistic websites. We may have concluded there was zero interest. Or was mulling over questions or had a spiritual dream. The Spirit blows in the most unusual ways and times. We don’t need so much to ask God to work as to believe He IS working whether we can see it or not. Someone has rightfully said that the biggest hindrance to reaching Muslims is our unbelief. This year determine to believe in faith that God will do something when you pray.

Dear heavenly Father, please give me more faith when things are dark or silent. In Jesus’ name, Amen.