Stroke is such a disastrous occurrence. It reduces an otherwise healthy individual to being bedbound, unable to speak, unable to move, & unable to care for his/herself.
One of our patients who had lived for several years in that state died a couple of weeks ago. I had visited her several times and observed how her son cared for her in his home. Her friendship to me was meaningful because she prayed for me often, particularly for our missions to African prisons.
Does anyone pray for you? Doesn’t the knowledge of their prayers point you to the reality that this world is big, potentially dangerous and that only God’s intervention can help you make it through?
I was disappointed to read about the Florida pastor who burned a Qu’ran this past week. Most Americans, regardless of their political or religious stances, disapproved. Our Afghanistan military commander condemned it, as did some Christian leaders.
Muslims in Afghanistan demonstrated in opposition during which 20 people died. Political and military leaders of many nations noted that it set back the mutual understanding that the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world have of each other. Not good.
Let me unpack this Muslim-Christian relation stuff a little bit. Have you seen the “Coexist” bumper stickers? Each letter in the word Coexist is shaped so that it symbolizes a different major religion. It speaks harmony and acceptance of all faiths as being valid and equal.
Here is the tension: apparently, this guy, Jesus of Nazareth, said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” That is a statement of exclusivity, and because He said it, we don’t have the option of believing that all religions are equal, that they are all different ways to the same God.
My understanding of Islam is that their prophet, Muhammed, claimed that Islam was the only true religion (Forgive me for speaking from ignorance, here. Although I have read parts of the Koran, I am not in any way someone who can speak with authority about the Muslim faith). If both faiths claim exclusivity, we cannot believe that both are true. The law of non-contradictions stands in our way.
So what are we left with, particularly, how should we as followers of Jesus approach this issue? On one hand we desire that relationship with and salvation through faith in Jesus will come to all people, including Muslims. On the other, we cannot think of ourselves as better.
And although there are some beautiful aspects of the Muslim faith, such as their upholding the family unit as a backbone of our communities, there are some who read from the Qu’ran that jihadism against Christians and Jews is Allah’s calling for all Muslims. What do we do about the conflicting ideals within a very broad faith? One thing is certain, if we learn from history, is that we should draw back from conflict with Muslims. It leads to brutal crimes, Christians against Muslims, and Muslims against Christians.
Let me propose a way to get along and yet maintain our distinctives in such a way that we do not dilute Jesus to just another way to God. We can agree with our Muslim friends, that 1) we don’t worship the same God, 2) we must not be offended when we proselytize each other, and 3) we must pray for one another.
I do like the Coexist bumper sticker in that it encourages civility of dialogue. I don’t like it in the sense that it seems to propose that all faiths are equal. It really is appropriate to publicly denounce the actions of this guy in Florida who burned a Koran. And it is a good thing to pray for the salvation of our Muslim friends.
You who are Jesus-followers, do you have Muslim friends? If you don’t, why not? Either way, do you pray for the precious people in the world that are Muslim? Do you spend more time watching FoxNews than you do praying for peace within the Muslim world? Which worries you more: jihadism against America, or, the knowledge that without Jesus the souls of the people who are Muslims are in trouble?
It is a big dangerous world full of human beings fully accessorized with broken, fallen natures. We do need people like my friend who recently died to pray fervently for us.