Friday, November 8, 2013


“Open up, ancient gates!  Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter.  Who is the King of glory?  The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, invincible in battle.”  Psalm 24:7-8
 A couple of years ago we met a Muslim couple whom I'll call Jamal and Layla. We can only speak minimal Arabic and they minimal English so we have a significant language barrier. Unfortunately a couple approached them too aggressively and too quickly with Christian literature. They were not spiritually ready and became very angry.  Witness shut down. The gates were locked. There was no chance for praying or getting an Arabic Bible to them. They had been completely turned off. However we kept visiting them and loving them.
Then Layla’s birthday came. God gave me the idea to print off a copy of Ps. 139:1-18 in Arabic and put it in her card. She read it out loud to me. I wanted her to see that the Bible had some beautiful things to say and not to be afraid of the Book. She was affected. In the background Al-Jazeera news was showing all the carnage in Syria on their satellite TV. Suddenly, Layla asked, “Why is there so much problem in Arab countries? I just want to know why.” So, I plunged in. “Because there is so much hatred,” I replied. Jamal repeated numerous times, “But they have the Qur’an."  “The Qur’an," I explained to Jamal, " doesn’t have the power to stop hatred. It has instructions but not the power." They talked animatedly between themselves in Arabic about what I just said. Elaborating I said, “ The driver’s manual gives us laws and instructions how to drive but it doesn’t have the power to make us perfect drivers. We know the laws but we sometimes drive without a full license, go through stop signs, and speed. There’s no power in the manual. It just instructs us about laws.” Then the big diversion tactic: “The problem is the government,” Jamal stated emphatically. Patiently I tried to explain that there can be big problems with governments but still inside of us we can hate others, get enraged, get jealous, etc. The time came to share incidents of my own sinfulness and how Isa al Masih broke the power of my sinfulness. They were shocked. I got exhausted having to explain all kinds of words and concepts because of the language barrier. I had to spell out those words and that took time and energy. Today I thank God for language barriers because witness has to go slowly. Elaboration of truths are gone over laboriously because there is not instant understanding. Sometimes it is actually a gift to have a language barrier! Finally I asked if I could pray for Layla on her birthday. To my surprise she said, “Sure.” Finally it was possible. As I prayed Jamal and Layla got fully engaged and kept uttering words like “help!” throughout my prayer. It seemed they were on the verge of tears. After praying Jamal’s lips were quivering. He was overcome with emotion and whispered “thanks”. As I walked out I knew a breakthrough had taken place. Oh, how sweet it tasted. The King of Glory made an entrance!
Dear heavenly Father, please give more breakthroughs. In Jesus’ name, Amen.