"My Heart Went Up"

"So how do I change my religion?"

It's not generally a way most people begin a conversation, but so Maarit* began with Jenny. Jenny,* an MTW missionary serving in Europe, had gotten to know Maarit over the past month and sensed her desire to know Jesus. Maarit had invited a friend who also wanted to know more about Jesus.

"Why? Aren't you Muslim?” Jenny asked. “Isn't your family Muslim?"

"Yes," Maarit admitted, "but I've come to hate Islam."

"Why?" Jenny asked.

"Because Islam leads to nothing but death and destruction. It's all about law and punishment." Maarit knew this firsthand. Her boyfriend discovered her interest in learning more about Christianity and threatened to kill her. So she fled.

God had clearly been at work in Maarit's life and shown her the extent of what the law can do: convict and condemn. She longed to know another law and another law-giver.

Understanding God as Father
Jenny slowly and systematically walked Maarit through the gospel—the need for law, and yet a Savior who fulfilled the law for us.

Then it was as if a light went on and Maarit finally got it.

"Oh, so now I understand!” she said. “We obey the law because of who He is and what He's done. His law is like a family law. The Father wants to keep us safe, and we want to please Him because we love Him."

Exactly. How many of us really get this? The conversation wandered from a discussion of sin, to Jesus as Savior, to the Trinity, and back to the cross. Listening intently, Maarit’s friend smiled at what she heard. "The God you describe is so lovely!"

Understanding God as Love
When we talk with Muslims about our faith, we find that two things astound them—two things for which Islam has no categories. First, that God is a father. Allah goes by various names, but father isn't one of them. The second is that God is love. Christianity is utterly unique because we serve a God to whom we can draw near because He's come near to us first in Jesus. He's come near to love, forgive, and reconcile.


Jenny sensed the Spirit nudging her to pray with them. "Do you believe this?  Do you want to become followers of this Jesus?"

"Yes."

"Do you know what this will cost you?" she asked.

Tears began to flow as they prayed. Tears turned to weeping, weeping to joy, and then Maarit described her first prayers to God as Father.

"When we prayed, for the first time I felt my heart go … up."

Beautiful. Do remember the first time you felt the nearness and acceptance of God? Does your heart continue to go "up" when you pray? These two friends went from hating Islam to loving Jesus within an hour.

God is doing amazing things among Muslims. Our heads are dizzy with delight: God has brought nine of our Muslim friends to faith in the last nine months. We forget that the gospel is truly the power of God unto salvation. His Spirit is taking souls downcast by slavery to the law and directing them "up"—upward to love, upward to a God who draws near.

Rejoice in what God is doing, and keep praying "up."

 

*Names have been changed for security reasons. 

Anonymous on Sep 7, 2017

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