Former Muslim Gives All Glory To God
Last Wednesday night for our prayer meeting no one guessed that my friend’s story would be so moving. But judging from the number of texts, emails, and comments, I knew something wonderful was happening. All evidence to God for how he uses the weak things of this world to bring him glory. As Scripture testifies, “the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (1 Corinthians 12:22)
Bashir (not his real name) grew up in a Muslim country. His father was an Imam and memorized the Quran. But God had other plans for Bashir. In his 30s, with a wife and children, struggling to make a living, God intervened. A friend of his began to talk about the prophet Jesus in a way that Bashir never knew. This gave him a hunger to know more. He had a dream that he was kissing the hand of a godly and glorious man, which he concluded was Jesus Christ. He read the Scriptures and compared what he knew about Islam. And after a couple years he broke down to truly pay homage to Jesus, to kiss the Son (Psalm 2). King Jesus opened his eyes to see and Bashir’s whole life changed.
Here are a few observations from the evening.
Exceeding Joy - Bashir was evidently enjoying himself the whole time. His laughs, smiles, and funny comments were not uncommon. I’ve known him for many years and this is truly the man you met. It’s a Spirit-filled joy. It’s certainly not a joy from circumstances. He lives on no more than $10 a day, doesn’t own a house, has health issues, no savings, and faithfully follows Jesus in much opposition. I think the secret to his joy is that Jesus is his greatest treasure. Joy abounds the more we experience that reality.
Full of Hope - He is clearly a ‘fear not’ Christian. There is just something so refreshing about a person who lives under extreme pressure, like an Islamic country, and yet openly talks of Jesus. He is confident about his future. Faith and love “spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven” (Col 1:5 NIV).
Calling & Conviction - His clarity on the gospel is deep and profound. It’s so counter-intuitive for us. Think of a room full of famous people from Hollywood, the media, or professors in Universities compared with this simple man who understands Christianity, Islam, and salvation better than they do. Is that not a complete reversal? God’s kingdom is upside down. He reveals himself to babes. “Not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many powerful, not many were of noble birth” (1 Cor 1:26ff). Here is a man with no high school education and who repairs small appliances for a living yet gets the true reality better than some of the most famous people in the world.
Unpretentious - There is something refreshing and invigorating and healthy about hearing someone speak who is not fundraising or reporting, but genuinely talking about how he is following Jesus. He is a disciple. He is not paid to be a disciple. He was called out of darkness and is now living in a new kingdom.
Challenging ourselves to be courageous:
When someone asked Bashir what was the secret of his faith, he responded without hesitation: the Word of God. He pointed to his Bible.
This is my prayer and I’m sure yours as well. Let’s pray for more faith and let’s learn to step out more in faith. Bashir’s secret is that he is fully embracing Christ. He believes it all. He knows the issues are life and death for Muslims. He is seeking to love his enemies. He is not looking for safety in this world.
Consider the security nets we create. Do they keep us from trusting Jesus? Are we more concerned about our comforts or following Christ? Do we know the joy that is ours following Jesus to the cross, by dying to self and living in new life? Consider the safe zones we purposely live in. Is it possible that our faith and love lack boldness because our hope in Jesus isn’t as robust as it should be? Are there any boundaries we don’t cross into because of fear?
My suggestion is that we all just take time to reflect on faith, love, and hope in Christ. How might the Lord be using this tinker, this poor man, this ordinary Christian, this appliance repairman, to spur us on in ways that will be life changing?