Saturday, August 13, 2011

Meadow Breaks

“He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.” Psalm 23: 2

“Sometimes I feel the load is too heavy – like I’m Moses carrying so many Muslim friends' burdens,” Joan wrote me. “Do you ever feel that way?” she asked. Yes, I do frequently. No one can fully understand unless she has been personally involved. I have had the privilege of serving God among Muslim women for 33 years now. I wouldn’t trade this ministry for anything in the world. It is full of sweet friendships, wonderful opportunities and joys. At the same time I occasionally feel a heavy weight – like what Joan wrote me about.

It is an awesome privilege and calling but it also involves hearing sad stories especially about family troubles and feeling the oppressive weight of their helplessness or victimization. I feel their dependency on “specialists” who predict things or shed light on the cause of the evil eye and tell them what to do to avert bad luck, etc. There is a weight that can sit on us that comes from spiritual darkness. Recently I was with my friend, Nafiza, who has progressively moved towards putting her trust in Jesus. Her mother called her and asked if she was still saying her nimaz faithfully. She put saying her Arabic prescribed prayers away quite awhile ago and is now praying from her heart in her own language and finding such a peace and joy she hadn’t known before. Her mother is afraid she is no longer a Muslim. Shukria’s acquaintances always check on her if she is keeping the fast during Ramadan. When I realize some of my Muslim friends no longer want to see me because they are getting pressure from the community I get weary. Sometimes my friends change the subject if I talk about the Word of God. Fear sets in. After I have had glorious opportunities to share at length and I can see there is hunger and a desire to understand a sudden inexplicable exhaustion can come over me. I hate that feeling. I’m like a balloon that has had the air let out. The sudden exhaustion is a tell tale sign that a surge of spiritual power has gone out. I need a “meadow break”.

I find Psalm 23:2 such a beautiful inviting verse. What a tender caring Shepherd we have. He leads us gently and is sensitive to our frame. I have taken many meadow breaks. They are such precious times of doing nothing but “grazing” near my Shepherd. It’s almost like I can feel Him reaching down and patting me on the head and saying tender words over me. Sometimes, it’s like He picks me up and puts me on His lap. He’s likened not to a driven task master, or cowboy but a shepherd. Somehow these meadow breaks revitalize me. Soon I’m on my feet once again and energized to come alongside my Muslim friends – and tell them how precious the Shepherd is! He lets me rest in green meadows.

Dear heavenly Father, what a wonderful Shepherd you are. Your care is indescribably refreshing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.