Have I wasted all this time?
Our current Biblical Justice Intern wanted to share this story about her work with our partner ESL program. Your partnership with The 25 Group allows this servant to bring the Gospel to many who have never heard it before.
* Names changed to protect identities
One of my favorite experiences I have had in this internship has been getting to know my friends and neighbors who have moved to the United States from other countries. We’ll sit around the living room, drink tea, eat cookies and share stories with each other. One of the most memorable of these times was spent with a Persian friend, Mariam, who might be one of the most genuine and authentic people I have ever met.
A friend and I were given the opportunity to read the Bible with Mariam as she shared a desire to learn more about Jesus. Mariam has followed the religion of Islam since she was a child. But now, as a mother and a grandmother, Mariam is questioning whether what she has believed her whole life is actually the truth. She decided several months ago that Islam is not the truth, but she is not sure if Christianity is truth either. During our last time with her, she shared with us how lost and scared she felt. “Why is this happening at this time in my life? Have I wasted all this time?”
We read the story in Mark 2 of Jesus healing the paralytic who was lowered through the roof by his friends. We discussed how Jesus heard the prayers of the four friends and He answered them. Jesus saw the pain and suffering of His people and He heard their desires. This was something that Mariam already knew to be true before we even talked about it. With tears filling her eyes, she told us how she knows that God sees her and she loves being able to talk to Him because she knows He is listening to her. Even though she had prayed many, many times in her religion, she had never had an experience where she felt like God was actually listening to her. She shared with us how she has been able to clearly see a difference in her thinking since she has begun learning how to pray to the God of the Bible. She feels peace when she reads Scripture and when she talks to God. She knows something real is going on here.
Mariam is slowly learning the truth about who God is and how He feels about her. God was already been working in Mariam’s heart and pursuing her a long time before my friend and I ever met her. Nothing super miraculous happened during our time together. No decisions were made in this moment. However, our friend is taking a small step toward God. One thing I have learned over the past few months is that it doesn’t matter how close or far we are from God or how big or small the step is, any step towards God is a huge step. Any step toward God is worth celebrating.