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Rejoicing in Baby Steps

Rejoicing in Baby Steps

Christar worker Amber* and her teammate had prayed for good neighbors. They’d looked at numerous houses before moving in next to Rachel and her family, and had lived there for two years when Rachel, a Muslim woman in her early 30s, agreed to study the Bible with Amber.

The two began working through the Gospel of Matthew, reading and discussing a chapter each week. When they got to Matthew 16, the chapter in which Jesus asks Peter, “Who do you say I am?” and Peter replies, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” she expected her friend to question if Jesus was indeed who He said He was. She and her teammates prayed that Rachel would understand and accept Jesus as God’s Son and her savior.

Amber went into the study prepared to talk about Jesus as the Son of God, but the conversation quickly veered from this topic when Rachel asked, “Why did Jesus die on the cross?” Islam teaches that Jesus didn’t die, and that God put Judas in Jesus’ place. But Rachel didn’t ask if Jesus died—she wanted to know the reason.

When Amber heard Rachel’s question, she began to laugh. She exclaimed to her puzzled friend, “Of all the questions you could ask about Christianity, you just asked most important one!”

Amber took Rachel to the Old Testament and showed her how the sacrificial system provided a way to escape God’s wrath over sin. Then, she led her friend back to Matthew, explaining that Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath, bearing it for the sins of all people. He was the perfect sacrifice, Amber shared, adding that we can know He was perfect because He came back to life.

Once again, Rachel asked a God-ordained question: “What do you have to do to get into heaven?” But when Amber shared that believing in Jesus is enough, and that works aren’t required, Rachel was taken aback. “That means bad people will get into heaven,” she countered.

“My heart used to be a heart of stone,” Amber shared, telling how God took out this heart of stone and gave her a heart that’s soft and wants to serve Him. “I do good things as a thanksgiving offering to God,” she shared.

Although Rachel didn’t make a commitment of faith that day, Amber praised God that she heard the gospel and didn’t reject it, and thanked Him for guiding their discussion. “I had all these plans, but God was directing the conversation,” she recalls. “I could say anything and the Holy Spirit would use it to speak to her heart. I felt such freedom.”

A few weeks later, Rachel mentioned in passing that she accepted that Jesus had died. Although she didn’t seem to think it was a big deal, Amber sees this as a milestone in her friend’s journey to faith in Christ.

Amber explains that when she began serving in the Middle East, she expected that she was going to share the gospel and see people immediately drop to their knees to accept Christ. However, she’s found that instead, she’s witnessing God work more gradually, softening the hearts of people as they encounter His Word. “I see more people like Rachel taking baby steps,” she explains. “They’ve been told lies all their lives.”

Before Amber left the field for home assignment, Rachel wrote in her Bible, “to be continued when Amber returns.” Amber looks forward to resuming her studies with Rachel, and is trusting God to continue to give her friend the grace and courage to take steps toward faith in His Son.

Participate by Praying:

  • Praise God for people in the Middle East who are taking steps toward faith in Jesus.
  • Pray for courage for Muslims who are considering Christ but fearful of how others will react.
  • Ask God to give patience and encouragement to workers as they serve God faithfully and wait for Him to work in the hearts of their least-reached friends.

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