Saturday, June 17, 2017

Rest

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

I'm told a jihad can be one of the heart, mouth, hand, or sword. The basic root meaning is to strive or to struggle which infers work and fatigue. It is a Muslim's religious duty to work for the cause of Allah, for self-refinement or towards a just moral-social order. The word jihad is mentioned 41 times in the Qur'an.

Fadwa has been on a personal spiritual jihad for years. Like many Muslims do in the West, she tries to convince non-Muslims that a jihad is merely a personal struggle and not how we perceive violent jihad in the media. I asked her what she was struggling about in particular but she couldn’t answer me. At what point would she finally be satisfied and at peace? I questioned if a Muslim could ever stop his or her spiritual jihad and just enjoy resting. Was she able to rest in Allah or did she have to always work for him or be in a state of perpetual struggle? When a person is engaged in a jihad I seldom see a picture of rest.

Sadia was a Muslim but today is a follower of Jesus. However, she still has a remnant psyche of engaging in a personal spiritual jihad - or struggle. This needs to be addressed as a new believer in order for her to enter into the enjoyment and freedom of her faith in Christ. She will fast for long periods of time but her friend, Kristina, seldom gets the impression Sadia is at rest. She wonders what Sadia is hoping to accomplish by her long periods of fasting and removing herself from interaction with people. Approval and acceptance from God, through Christ’s death on the cross, have already been accomplished for Sadia. She doesn't need to struggle any more for earning God's love.

Karima looked so worn out. She said to me, "I just need rest for my mind." I am so thankful that God allows us, and yes, even invites us to enter His rest. God is our caring Shepherd. Many Muslims are drawn to the beauty of Jesus' invitation to find rest for our bodies, souls, and minds. While Muslims glorify and exhort being engaged in a struggle(jihad)the Bible declares there is rest from our striving. The Holy Spirit is a precious gift to us. It is He who is at work in us and through us.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You that I find blessed rest in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.