Friday, July 29, 2016

Hungry for God

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again….” John 6:35a

I asked Hanifa if I could pray for her. Star, her ten year old niece overheard and said, “I wish I knew how to pray.” “Well, then come sit beside me, Star, and listen to me talk to God,” I replied. How encouraging to see the first hints of spiritual hunger arise in Star. So beautiful to witness!

I was trying to explain to Ayesha about Adam and Eve and how sin came into the world and the consequences of disobedience. Ayesha was especially fascinated that there was a breakdown of harmony between men and women but that in the beginning, before sin, everything between man and woman(Adam and Eve) was perfect. Ayesha asked, “Did Hawa wear a hijab when everything was perfect?” Oh my, I was trying to talk about a relationship with God and her mind was on the hijab. At that point it was about keeping rules, not about spiritual hunger for God. Hunger had not come yet.

Nasrin went on at length about her dance workouts at the gym, wanting laser treatments for fat reduction, and having a face lift, etc. Her mind was focused on her body. She was determined to be beautiful and sexy right into old age. It was impossible to ascertain any spiritual hunger in her. She reminded me of one particular woman in Pakistan I shared the Good News with who appeared keenly interested in my words but immediately afterwards asked, “What cream do you use on your face?”

I shared with Khatoon about the soul. She asked, “What’s that?” Then there was Fatima. When I told her I was going on a retreat to get in touch with my soul she asked, “How do you do that?” Over and over again I witness little evident spiritual hunger in my Muslim friends. Oh, if only they would be spiritually hungry. If only they would really deeply desire to know God and not be so preoccupied with rules and correct behavior and judgment. Occasionally I have the joy of meeting a Muslim woman who is spiritually hungry to know God. Wow! What an adventure we go on. That is pure joy. Sayeda is one of those. Sometimes it seems she is more hungry than me!

Where does spiritual hunger come from?  From myself or from God? For as long as I can remember I have been spiritually hungry for God. I haven’t had to beg God to make me spiritually hungry. He has satisfied me with wonderful feasts. I plead with God to make my Muslim friends hungry for Him rather than religion. Where are they, Lord? I cry out to God and search for a hungry soul. Then I sense the Spirit saying, “I am sending you to them to show them what it looks like to be spiritually hungry. They have not seen that kind of hunger.” So, I go out to my friends and let them observe a spiritually hungry woman. That may well be the most important ministry to be engaged in.

Dear heavenly Father, please send me to a spiritually hungry Muslim woman. In Jesus’ name, Amen.