Saturday, July 17, 2010

Secret Stairway

“And as he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from earth to heaven…” Genesis 28:12a
I was visiting a Muslim woman who comes from a country isolated from the rest of the world and unexposed to the Good News of Jesus Christ. We talked about premarital *sex which led to a discussion about honor killings and public punishments. She shuddered and told me about one of her friends here who witnessed the lashing of a woman and man for premarital *sex. The government ordered her and her students at a school to witness it. I asked her how she knew it was wilful premarital *sex or could it possibly have been rape? She had no answers. I shared with her the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery and how the religious leaders were poised to stone her.

After my friend told me about the lashings I could hardly walk to my car to return home. I felt sick seeing the terror some women live under. How can I retain joy in ministry? What can I do about the horrible things I hear? I grieved for my friend. I prayed for her. When I got in the car I put a worship CD in and soaked in the comforting words of Michael Card singing “Celebrate the Child”. It is a simple song about a Child who is Light and there is no more wandering in the darkness. I must have played it ten times. It took me up heaven’s stairway – above all the harshness and lack of mercy. By the time I reached home I was overcome with the gift of Grace, put the song back on, danced with abandon and fell to my knees in worship of our gracious Jesus. There is a secret stairway to heaven that we can climb to get a breather from the sufferings of this world and get a view of Glory. I don’t want to escape the sufferings but I do need to climb upstairs to the rooftop to get some fresh air from time to time!

Anyone spending a lot of time listening to the stories of Muslim women will sooner or later hear some pretty messy stuff. It could snuff the joy of the Lord right out of us. Satan loves to steal our joy. It nearly happened to me in earlier years. I was left feeling so helpless to change anything. I took too much into my soul and it was dumped there. Now I take my friends and conversations to Jesus immediately and leave them with Him to deal with. I take heaven’s stairways. And then I listen to worship music to soak(sometimes soar!) in the sweet Presence of my Lord. How I love Jesus! What a wonderful Savior we have who is full of love and grace and forgiveness. If I lose my joy or bash the darkness I don’t have much to offer my Muslim friends. I’ve been refreshed and now I can walk downstairs again.

Dear heavenly Father, open our eyes that we may see Your angels going up and down on Your stairway – and not just see evil forces at work. In Jesus’ name, Amen.