Saturday, August 27, 2016


“Then he said, “I am the God of your ancestors – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob…” Genesis 3:6a

Sageeda was excited about meeting me in the store. She invited me for a meal at her home. I didn’t think that was unusual having just met because Muslims are some of the most hospitable people on this planet. A wonderful meal was served. Then Sageeda revealed her real purpose of inviting me. Would I help sponsor her relatives to Canada?

Iman seemed unusually friendly and sent a big dish of some of my favorite ethnic food home with me. Then the request came. Would I please tell her the names of certain influential people I know whom she could use on her resume so that she could get a certain job?

A Muslim doctor appeared interested in studying the Bible with us. He said he wanted to become a Christian. We noticed, however, that when my husband and I and the doctor would get together he often had a hard time finding his Bible. Obviously he was not reading it regularly. Then he asked if he could get baptized. We took him to the pastor who listened to his testimony but something seemed hollow and empty.  The real purpose became exposed. We discovered he desperately desired to stay in our country and wanted us to lie to immigration about his situation.  When we told him we refused to lie he vanished. 

Discovering we have been used for ulterior motives is painful. The first time this happens to us we feel hurt and betrayed but we continue on. However, when it happens numerous times the temptation is to draw back from Muslims or quit relating altogether. We can develop a cynicism and distrust of all Muslims. If I would be truly honest, I could think of some situations where I have used somebody and been an opportunist.  It is not uncommon for missionaries occasionally to construct newsletters or speak in churches and share sensational stories in such a way to manipulate getting financial support. We can also throw around influential names to gather validation. There have been times when believers from Muslim background have been used by churches to tell their stories to attract people to meetings. We are not exempt from using people. Behind the opportunist’s attempts at getting something desirable is the belief that God is not able to help us and that He doesn’t truly love us and work on our behalf. We must take care of the situation ourselves.

A Bible story that continues to intrigue me is of Jacob who used key people to obtain something he wanted badly. Consequently he got himself into some complicated messes. But God met him in the process of using people,  wrestled with him, and ultimately changed him. Today we declare that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Amazing! Perhaps there is a little bit of Jacob in all of us. God is fully able to get through to opportunists who use us.

Dear heavenly Father, please help me not to give up in ministry when I am being used. In Jesus’ name, Amen.