Each year hundreds of thousands visit the tomb of Mohammed, the prophet of Islam. A Muslim once told a Christian, "When we Muslims go to Medina we can at least see a coffin. When you Christians go to Jerusalem, all you have is an empty grave." And the Christian responded, "Yes, but that's the whole point!"
The hope that is represented by that empty grave can be the hope for the Muslims as well. About 20 percent of the world's population, over one billion people, is Islamic. And the numbers are growing.
Muslims are a very devout, sincere, dedicated people. Their faith is built on the "Five Pillars of Islam," which include prayer five times a day and a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime. But even if they do all of this religiously, there is no guarantee they will enter heaven. In Islam, judgment is based on the arbitrary will of Allah, which nobody can predict.
Muslims believe that Allah can nullify his old statements with new ones, and that he is not bound by his revelations. One Muslim scholar said, "God is absolutely free and unrestricted, even in the realm of truth. He is free to abrogate the truth of earlier revelations by subsequently revealed truths. He is free to judge the same act as good in one circumstance, and evil in another according to the situation."
That explains a lot! The very god they serve changes his mind! This is totally different from how we understand God. We understand God to be consistent. We understand the Bible to be a perfect source of revelation, absolute and inerrant. We follow a savior, Jesus Christ, who is "the same yesterday, today and forever." And God Himself said, "For I am the Lord; I do not change" (Malachi 3:6).
For Muslims, the only exception to the arbitrary nature of Allah is that if they die in service to him, no matter whether they're good or bad, they are instantly admitted to paradise. That explains some of the violent events in the world. Yet, there are many stories of Muslims converting to Christ. In fact, 667 Muslims are converted to Christ every hour!
A rich Kuwaiti named Ibrahim was a very devout Muslim, but he had never experienced peace and had attempted suicide four times. On a trip he was suffering from insomnia, and a Gideon Bible directed him to the verse that says "God gives his beloved sleep" (see Psalm 127). He said, "If you're the God of this book, give me sleep." That night, he slept like a baby. When he gave his heart to Jesus Christ his family rejected him, but years later his father told him, "I know your God is real because for 10 years all our plans to harm you have failed."
Mustafa from Yemen was a radical Muslim who as a teenager had developed a real hatred for Christians. He burned down a Christian church in his village and stole from Christians, all under the banner of "jihad." "I was filled with hatred for Christians," he said. "Christians have no rights." Later, God got hold of his life, and now he serves Christ.
Daniel Shayesteh was part of the radical Islamic coup that took over Iran in 1979. He said, "When you read the Quran, it says that you must destroy other religions, Jews and Christians." In a dream, he was in his father's house, and heard the voiceof Jesus calling him to come out. As he did, his father's house crumbled before his eyes. Soon after, he gave his life to Christ. He said, "I think the supernatural intervention of God was the cue to cause me to wake up."
These stories prove that no one, under any circumstances, is beyond the reach of the gospel! We must view each person as a salvation possibility. There are no restrictions on the power of the Holy Spirit. No matter what, God can break through.
In your mind, are there "impossible cases"? If you ever say, "He'll never come to Christ," you presume too much, and you believe too little. Saul of Tarsus was an "impossible case," but God worked an incredible conversion. There's not anyone, anywhere, in any circumstance, who is beyond the reach of God. Every person is a spiritual opportunity that may be disguised as an impossibility.
God can work supernaturally, but He loves to use us. Even as He called Ananias to minister to Paul, God can use us. So take down the banners of "impossible" and "unreachable." What opportunities lie ahead of us! FQ
Skip Heitzig is the founder and senior pastor at Calvary Albuquerque. His teachings are heard across the country and around the world on The Connection. Skip and his wife, Lenya, and son and daughter-in-law, Nathan and Janaé, live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Skip and Lenya are the proud grandparents of Seth Nathaniel and Kaydence Joy.