On two or three occasions in my life I have had the tiniest glimpse of heaven. Each occurrence took place during a church worship service, when the worship was so good that I could close my eyes and imagine myself standing before the Throne of God, praising Jesus. Fully giving all of our praise to Jesus. Last night was one of those times, and it was the most exciting ever...
For the past month or so I have been BLESSED to fellowship with Hassan. Hassan is a former Muslim who gave his life to Jesus many years ago. I have always been so fascinated by his story. At one point he sat in prison in Iran under a death sentence, because he was sharing Jesus with Iranians. He was miraculously set free. I was so awed by the fact that this amazing servant of Jesus was in my home, and that he attended church with us on Saturday nights, and that afterward we shared meals and conversation on the church patio. Hassan talks to everyone about Jesus - no holds barred. I drink in his stories. I probably sit there with my mouth hanging open most of the time because I cannot believe his boldness. It is coupled with such knowledge of history and culture and various religions. He is just amazing and I have been honored and blessed to spend time with him.
There is another man we know named Arvand, a Hindu. Hassan has, of course, been witnessing to him and I believe others have also. Hassan invited Arvand to church last night. So there we sat in church, Arvand, Hassan, Eric and I. And the worship was amazing and I closed my eyes and was greeted with the vision of standing before the throne of Jesus. And I was blown away thinking "Someday we will all be standing before Jesus! Indian, Iranian, American, all praising God for uniting us in Him!" I cannot convey in words the wonder of that time for me. I began to pray for Arvand that God would reveal Himself to Arvand and that Arvand's heart would be open and ready.
The sermon last night was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever sat through. It was titled "Following Jesus in a Sex-Crazed Culture". I thought God must have made a mistake, or I had made a mistake in thinking Arvand would be ministered to on this night. Of course, God doesn't make mistakes. I have a hint that the sermon was perfect for Arvand. He and his wife are very concerned about their kids being raised in the depravity of our time. He was amazed by the frankness of the Pastor. I believe God spoke volumes to Arvand last night.
Afterward we all sat on the patio and talked. (We skipped the dinner -- Arvand is a vegetarian!) Some time ago Hassan and his wife bought a Bible for Arvand's daughter because he told Hassan that she was interested in learning about God. He told us last night that she read it cover to cover. Also, years ago she was in a Christian preschool (!) where she learned that Jesus is the only God. She asked her Dad why he prays to "all those gods" if there is only one God. So he added Jesus' picture to those of the other gods he prayed to in his cupboard. Now, he told us, he believes there can only be one God. He is trying to find out who that God is! He asked "Where should I start reading in the Bible?" Probably my mouth hung open again. I have never witnessed anyone hungry for God. I am used to jaded Americans who've heard so much about God but are so uninterested. Much discussion followed his question. Out of respect for the cultures represented at our table that I know little about but believe to be not interested in the opinions of women, I said nothing. I just took Eric's Bible and opened it to the book of John. Through discussion, Arvand kept eyeing that Bible and he eventually looked to me. I said something like "I have always just been in America, seeing things from a Christian standpoint. I don't know what it's like to come from another culture, but I know people want to know what makes Jesus different from other gods, and I know we point to the book of John. It tells the story of Jesus. He is the only God who died and came alive again." Arvand said "Okay, I will read John." Hassan and Eric continued. I trust since they are all engineers Hassan and Eric understand how Arvand's mind works, his questions and the way the answers need to be structured. But I felt he also wanted to be guided to something specific, and I feel blessed to have been able to just point to John.
Last night was a wonderful, exciting night. I believe Arvand and his family are going to find Jesus, and some day we will all be worshipping together in heaven. That will be so amazing. My tiny glimpse of heaven will be magnified beyond my ability to imagine.