December 30, 2012

Dubai malls again - freedom to say "no" - Day 4

i don't particularly like spending hours and hours in malls, but that is where the nations congregate in Dubai and our intention is to love as many people as we can - so we found ourselves at yet another Dubai mall. While a few of the team went snowboarding, the rest of us headed for another coffee place and that became our little "ministry base" for the next few hours.

At first it was a bit of a slow start. I tried to connect with a group of four Emirati muslim men who were sitting next to us. I had a word of knowledge about a neck problem and yet none of them said it applied to them. As I explained further and spoke about the way we pray for the sick and see all types of conditions healed, they were extremely polite but clearly not interested. They even surprised us by buying a pastry we had ordered after they had recommended it and I offered the Kingdom yet again. Again, no interest in having us minister to them. One of them said a very interesting thing, albeit completely false, when I told them yet again that according to our Christian faith we are commanded to pray for and actually heal the sick wherever we find them (see Luke 10:9). He said, "In Islam we are commanded to do exactly the same thing". I can't tell you how many times I have heard a muslim completely contradict or in this case "invent" an supposed teaching/tenet/belief in Islam after hearing what we Christians believe (famously when I tell them that we are commanded to love our enemies they will often say that Islam commands that as well when in fact the command in the Qur'an is to slay them). After so many muslims have been healed and willing to receive prayer for healing in the past week or more, it was a bit frustrating that these lost men, who undoubtedly had a number of health issues just judging by their ages, were so totally uninterested in receiving from us.

To be fair, muslims consider Christianity to be a corrupted religion and that we are corporately deceived which when I think about it that way I should be more amazed when they do allow us to pray with them and for them. I would never allow a follower of a false religion pray for me or my family. I think also that the encounter with these men illustrates something else. God freely allows His creatures to reject His offer of love because love never coerces or manipulates and His essential nature is that of love. God's love persuades and draws but unlike what some Christian theologians have mistakenly taught His grace is not irresistable. These men were being drawn. God was persuading. In addition to the word of knowledge for the neck (which I believe was actually for one of them but they simply wouldn't acknowledge it) there were other words of knowledge pointing out some of their other pains and conditions. I was probably a bit over zealous to "make something happen" due to their fact that they belong to some of the most unreached and unresponsive people groups (the tribes/families of Emirati Arab muslims) in the world. I guess I was trying to hold the door open and the Lord although grieved was simply allowing them to do what so many of His creation has been doing for thousands of years, resisting Him.

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