In the desert…
Much like the famous song “I have a dream,” many Arabs have a keen awareness of the supernatural world of dreams. To dream something must mean something. It is also not uncommon for God to use dreams and visions among Muslims to give them a glimpse of Himself and His love for them.
Dreams are seen as being in touch with the higher world, an avenue of the gods. When folks do dream, they tend to ponder on their meanings and seek interpretations from their religious leaders. The founder of Islam had many dreams too; therefore they are very open to receive messages from above too.
When asking a seeking Muslim if he ever had a dream of Jesus, the answer is most likely a resounding YES. Somehow God uses this unpredictable world of dreams to reveal Himself in a personal way to many, if they liked it or not. For some it is the jump start to a spiritual pilgrimage for the truth, for others it is a fleeting memory to be filed away for later reflection.
Thousands of ex-Muslims testified that dreams played a significant role in their decision making process before becoming a Christian. Since it is not possible to influence the content of dreams, they experience it as very significant pointers on their road to salvation.
“How did you know it was Jesus in your dream?” was one of the questions asked of the dreamers by their curious friends. Sometimes they just knew, while other times Jesus talked to them in an audible way. They usually could remember an overwhelming sense of love and light, and often woke up in tears of longing. Meeting Jesus just seemed to change a person’s life forever.
The dreams put them on a spiritual journey that often cause them to go the mosque more frequently, to study the Quran more fervently, and to follow their prayer rituals more earnestly. But soon they discovered that Jesus is not to be found in the mold they were used to.
A sense of longing for more of Jesus persisted until they finally find a Bible in a language they could understand. Reading more about what Jesus said and did was like taking a flying leap forward in their search for the truth. They discovered that He was so much more than they ever encountered in their dreams, causing a longing for more of Him.
Some folks even dreamt some of the parables that Jesus told, and then discovered them anew when they read the gospels. By the time they made a decision for Jesus, they had long since stopped going to the mosque and rather spent their time in reading the Bible. Fortunately the Bible is available in a variety of Arabic dialects and translations, but finding a hard copy seemed to be a difficult venture. None of the bookshops in the Gulf countries (except one or two) sold Bibles.
The availability of the internet caused many to Google their way to a place where they could download their own personal copy to read. In spite of many government efforts to block Christian websites, the persistent seeker would always be able to find what they were looking for. Some even discovered Arabic chat rooms where they can voice their questions to a real person, or could chat for hours with a fellow believer.
“One of the most significant TV programs I have seen was when a Saudi man phoned in to an Arabic Christian TV show broadcast from Lebanon, asking the presenter a lot of questions about Jesus. When the presenter offered to pray with him, he immediately accepted, and prayed word for word after him, inviting Jesus into his life.”
“It was like peeping into the throne room of God, seeing a man transformed over the digital channel by waves of God’s love, finding peace and a future of hope. I was in tears with them, sharing their joy and awe,” confessed a worker in the region.