Bon Soir from Grenoble!
This is Shannon Wiersma and I am one of the privileged leaders from this trip. Today as a team we got to learn more and experience Ramadan in a new light, as today is the first day of Ramadan. For those of you who don’t know what Ramadan is, Muslims believe that the Qur’an was given to Muhammad during the month of Ramadan and they commemorate this by fasting. The fast is strict, no food or water from sun up to sun down, and lasts for 30 days. They believe it is a time to cleanse the body and soul, read the Qur’an and reflect on God. As a team we decided to take part in the fast for 1 day.
While taking part in the fast we also took a good chunk of our day and spent that time quietly and individually with God. We went to the church that Roy and his family attends, did a teaching and then spent four hours with God. In our discussion we read through Romans Chapter 8. Romans 8:5 tells us this: “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” This chapter was such a gift and beautiful reminder to our team of what a privilege it is to live for Christ.
Because Christ died for us, we do not depend on things of our own doing to know that we have a place in heaven with him. Not only do we get to spend eternity with him but Romans 8:15 tells us this: “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry Abba, Father.”
The quiet time gave us time to reflect on the fact that God is our loving father who wants to have an interactive relationship with us. He wants us to go to Him first. We do not have to be like the Muslims who can only go to God at certain times; our communication with Him can be constant and is encouraged. Much of the motivation for the Muslim’s fasting is fear driven, worried that if they don’t fast and don’t pray at the exact times, they will not go to heaven. But we have freedom from these fears because we have Christ!
My fear the night before our fasting day was that our hunger would cause us to be short and impatient with one another but through God’s grace we were able to practice keeping our focus on what the Spirit desires for us rather than what our bodies desired. With this practice we were amazed at how God showed up, we felt little hunger pains rather we were filled with a longing for the Muslims to know and enjoy the personal relationship and freedom that we have in Christ.
During my time with the Lord He gave me Luke 13: 24, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many I tell you will try to enter and will not be able to.” This trip has given us many beautiful images and faces of people who do not yet know the Lord. I ask you to pray with me that these kind people find their hearts restless, knowing that there is truth they have yet to find. Pray with me that a Christian may walk into their life and share the good news and that they will be over come with relief because their heart may finally be joyous rather than fearful and restless. God is working in powerful ways! Thank you all for your continued prayers and support!