Taylor sat across the kitchen table from me, and we held hands as we prayed for our friend, R* who had just responded to the gospel with belief in Jesus a few days earlier. She had agreed to studying the Bible with us on a weekly basis, and we were planning to see her the next day. In anticipation of her visit, Taylor and I stayed up late into the night prepping for it and praying for her. We prayed for many things, but one thing in particular was for the Lord to continue to reveal himself to her, even through dreams as this is very significant in the Muslim world.
The next afternoon, we couldn’t wait to see R and ask her how the last few days had been. I loved her response: “So far so good!” She said she had experienced “many changes,” which she mostly clarified as feeling relieved and peaceful. I thought about how she had expressed such confusion a few days ago before she heard the gospel, but now she carried a newfound joy and peace as evidence of the Holy Spirit already producing fruit in her. Not that Christians don’t ever have questions, but our God is one of peace and not confusion.
“I had a dream last night…” she started off, and my ears perked up, since it could very well have been at the exact hour that Taylor and I had been praying.
“I used to have dreams like this a long time ago, when I went to the Christian primary school,” she recalled. Then the dreams stopped…until now.
In her dream she was in a war, and everyone was fighting all around her on all sides. It was clear that they were being beaten, as the enemy was stronger than those on her side. “Jesus appeared to me,” she said. “He called out to me and appeared to me in water.” although she didn’t remember exactly what he said, she knew that he spoke kind and encouraging words (which is no surprise, considering Zechariah 1:13) and then gave her the command to “go.”
After this she got up and came to a panel of prophets who were all sitting down in a row. When she arrived, they recognized her as a prophet and gave her the name Youssef (biblical equivalent of Joseph). One prophet instructed her to sit down not with them, but behind them. He then fell over dead, but when R got up and laid over him, he came back to life. At this all the prophets were amazed and began to pay attention to her. They seated her at the front and said they wanted to follow her God. “My God is Jesus Christ,” she proclaimed, and they followed her into battle. From that point on, not another life was lost.
“I was sad when I woke up,” R said with a smile, “only because I wanted to know what would happen next!”
Since so many parts of her dream reminded us of Scripture references, we opened up the Word together to help her interpret parts of her dream. We first gave her a new Bible in English plus a New Testament in her heart language. Showing her how to use the table of contents to locate books, chapters, and verses, she turned to the Old Testament story of Gideon in Judges where God delivered Israel from an army that vastly outnumbered them. “God often leads his people into battles where the enemy outnumbers them,” we explained, “so that we trust in him and his power is displayed.” That set the stage.
“When Jesus appeared, did he say anything about the water?” I asked.
“No,” she shook her head.
“Well he said something about it in the Bible!” We turned to John 4 and started reading about the Samaritan woman at the well. She wanted me to read, but she followed along with me as if she knew which parts to emphasize. When I got to the verse where Jesus said, “If you knew who were talking to you, you would have asked him, and he would have given you…” and she finished the sentence with me, “living water.”
In this hot desert climate, the concepts of drawing water from wells, the exhaustion of the heat of the day, and the satisfaction of water are readily understood. She listened intently as we explained how Jesus is the living water that satisfies our thirsty souls, a spring that wells up to eternal life.
As for the prophets in her dream, it appears that she was at first discredited, given her seat behind the rest. But things changed when God used her to perform a miracle. “Who alone has power to raise the dead?” we asked. She answered confidently, “Jesus Christ,” recognizing that the power in her dream had to have come from God and not herself.
“Perhaps God’s power in you will lead other people to believe in him and follow him,” we marveled together at this possible interpretation. The name Youssef must also have significance. (I wish I had Joseph’s gift of interpreting dreams!) Like Jospeh, she may be hated by her own brothers and brought down very low, but God’s hand on her will eventually raise her from the pit and into a place of leadership. And she will lead others to victorious battle for Jesus.
She seemed to accept this with a solemn seriousness, as if she was already counting the cost.
“This won’t be easy,” I commented.
“Truly,” she replied.
“But the God who is with you fights for you. And he is worth it all.”
After praying over her, she left with her two new Bibles and a plan to start reading Luke to learn more about Jesus, and to come back next week to discuss it with us.
Muslims who turn to Christ do have to count a cost that we westerners cannot even begin to comprehend. A choice that could separate her from her family and community, labeling her as a disobedient traitor. A choice that could make her feel like she is fighting a battle of one against everyone. But those are the kinds of battles that God is really good at winning, if only she will make the choice.
Please pray for R and for people like her who are hearing the gospel and counting the cost. Pray for God to continue to reveal himself through his Word, his church, his Spirit, through signs and wonders, and even dreams and revelations. Pray for a spirit of interpretation to help new believers and seekers understand the Word of God and the meaning of their dreams. And pray for a bold spirit of obedience to follow Christ no matter the cost. He is the treasure that is worth selling all our possessions…and even life itself…if only to gain him.
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