Friday, August 5, 2016

Hidden Ministry

….”Go where your followers can see your miracles!” they scoffed. “You can’t become a public figure if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, prove it to the world!” John 7: 3b-4

I was conversing with Karima - just the two of us - in her apartment. It was an amazing conversation about her soul and her many fears. She was especially aware of and afraid of the activity of evil spirits. She let me pray for her and talk about Jesus. Such a conversation would seldom have taken place if other people had been present, even just one other.  How was it possible that deep issues of the soul could be addressed so intimately and directly? The answer was because we were hidden. Anyone desiring to go into deeper ministry among Muslim women should strive for a hidden ministry. We go out among “hidden” women to do a hidden ministry behind closed doors. Jesus is there, too.

Decades ago no one could have convinced me that there is high value in hidden(unseen) ministry especially on a one-on-one basis. But, I have discovered, that the secret to fruitful Muslim ministry among women is due in large part to the necessity of needing to be hidden away from the observation and scrutiny of other people’s eyes or ears. The Holy Spirit is protecting the sensitive ministry, my Muslim friend, and me, by not letting it be exposed to those who could cause harm. He is also keeping me humble. It is a purifying process. It can bother me at times that no one sees what I am doing behind closed doors especially when it is tough spiritual work. I wish my Christian friends, extended family members, church and even mission organization could really know what happens but they can’t. They can know only in part. If they can’t know a lot then how will they stand behind me? Maybe you can identify with these human musings. Why is it that we conclude hidden away one-on-one ministry in the homes of Muslim women is insignificant? Because we are influenced by the world's culture and our church's culture which prize and elevate that which is primarily done publicly.

Living in a free democratic society the thought of living "hidden" is hard to imagine. Our TV talk shows encourage and celebrate everything being revealed. Clothing fashions don't hide too much. So when it comes to a hidden ministry we hardly know what that would mean or look like. I believe that accepting and valuing hidden ministry will come easier when we first discover what it means that our lives are hid in Christ. My faith in Christ is often displayed publicly but much is also hidden. There is a part of my relationship that is kept secret, hidden, private and cherished; so sacred and special that it’s guarded. I have discovered that being hidden in Christ is beautiful, powerful, and desirable. My hidden life in Christ nourishes and encourages me. When I have come to value my life being hid in Christ and feel comfortable and at rest about that kind of relationship, I will also see the value of being hidden in ministry and be at rest about that. It is not a minus but a plus!

Dear heavenly Father, please encourage a sister who is frustrated in her ministry because she feels hidden away, unseen, and unknown. Assure her that You see and know everything and are pleased with her.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.