Monday, August 17, 2015

Talking About God

And this is the way to have eternal life – to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.  John 17:3

A young woman sporting purple hair and wearing a nose ring walked into church(held in a gym) for the first time and sat down next to me. Turning to me she asked, “Do you believe in God?” “Yes, I do…a lot,” I replied. She obviously knew nothing about God and found everything in the service new and strange. I was reminded that there are many people like her who have not been taught anything about God. It is a blank page.

But when it comes to my Muslim friends, I have yet to find one who declares she is a true Muslim and does not believe in Allah.  It is a given, that if she would call herself a Muslim, she will believe in a Supreme Power or Creator.  Just declaring  the shahada  affirms that belief.  However, believing in a Creator or Supreme Power does not necessarily mean that one has accurate information about that Being.  A declaration and holding to certain beliefs are not synonymous with knowing God experientially and being transformed.
One of my favorite Bible stories I love to tell my Muslim friends is about Ayub(Job).  Most of them have heard his name but are not able to relay the story about him. It is a narrative which grips them because it is about human suffering.  Job did not have extensive knowledge about God as he probably lived before the time of Moses but he certainly had some. Who taught him about God? His friends concluded that Job was afflicted because he must have done something wrong and was being punished now. How the friends described their understanding of God was part true and part false. The beginning of Job records two conversations between God and Satan but after that we don’t hear Job refer to Satan’s involvement in his suffering.  In the end Job was left humbled that he had not understood God very well. He gained much more knowledge and revelation.

Talking about God is a huge and significant subject to engage in with Muslims. Ultimately we want to help Muslims discover a greater knowledge of the Triune God and how a relationship with Him is possible through Jesus Christ.  Frequently, we are more intent on destroying whatever knowledge they have rather than listen to them. Our Muslim friend may very well be like Job. Or she may be like one of Job’s three misinformed friends. It is amazing to me how even Christians can have such different perceptions of God even though we believe in the same Book! We are all discovering God. What really counts is knowing God personally and being transformed.

I love talking about God with my Muslim friends. How about you? I mean, about God Himself, not about comparative religions.  Debating, arguing, and destroying are not the first path I pursue, but rather sharing about what I know about God from the Bible and what He is doing in my life today.  They listen. Usually. And then they get confused.
Dear heavenly Father, keep revealing more of Yourself to my Muslim friends…and to me, too.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.