My friend, Basma (her usual smile matching her name), is a fun-loving person who, alas, does not know the Lord Jesus. The other day I was so engrossed in my work, that I did not see her as she crept in, and was quite startled when she exclaimed, “Always at your desk!”
“Oh Basma,” I protested, “you’ve startled me!”
“I meant to take you by surprise,” she said. “What are you writing?”
“An article about the way of salvation,” I answered.
“Which way?!” she inquired. “Aren’t there several ways, and don’t they all lead to Heaven? All roads lead to Rome, you know.”
“Yes, to Rome; but not to God. According to the Bible, the only way to God is through commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.”
“You don’t say!” she mocked. “So according to you, I’m going to hell? You must be aware that I no longer believe in your Jesus.”
“You don’t believe because you haven’t had a proper chance to know Him,” I answered.
“We studied the Bible in school,” she protested. “Religion was a compulsory subject, and I always passed with flying colors. But you haven’t answered my question,” she objected. “Do you think I’m going to hell?”
“Only God can answer this question,” I explained, as I secretly prayed for guidance. Aloud, I said, “What about reading my finished article later?”
“I’m tired of all that rot,” she said. “Now that I’m no longer a school girl, I can see that it doesn’t work. Look at all those hypocrites in Church…” Then abruptly she asked, “But you actually think you have the power to change an atheist like me through that article of yours?!”
To my amazement, she snatched my draft and began to read. I continued to pray for guidance, and as I prayed, I was reminded of Zechariah 4:6 (NIV): “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.” After a while, she looked up and said, “I expected to read an account of the Gospel story, but you’ve started with the Old Testament!”
“Yes,” I explained, “and if you read on, you’ll be amazed at the innumerable and devious plots of Satan to thwart God’s plan of salvation.”
After reading some more, she returned the draft to me, saying, “Be sure to give me the finished article. Those Old Testament citations are quite intriguing!”
Thank you, dear Lord, for giving yourself to save us, and for offering your Spirit to guide us. Forgive us when we’ve been a stumbling block to others, and help us to live what we profess, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Dr Mary M.F. Massoud (Egyptian, single) is a professor in the English Department of Ain Shams University, Cairo. Her published critiques of English, Irish and American literary works are written from a Christian perspective. She has also translated theological works. Her chief hobby is writing and producing Christian plays (one, Our Father, has been translated into ten languages).
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