I was in Washington DC last month sharing the Gospel with 100 other Christians. It was a glorious time. The Gospel went forth to thousands of people. We grew tremendously in our love for Jesus, and inevitably, in our love for the lost.
One afternoon, I went walking around the front of the Capitol building to spend some time in prayer. I saw a young woman from the Middle East taking pictures of the Capitol so I went over to her and handed her a Gospel tract. I explained that it contained the message of true freedom. She was very curious so a conversation began…
I learned that Rifat is from Bangladesh and is a strong Muslim. She told me she is a flight attendant for Saudia Arabia airlines and was in DC for a few days for a long layover.
Nice place to spend a layover!
I asked her if she ever had a close call during a flight and she told me about a time when she was a little girl and was on a frightening flight where the engine burst into flames and they had to make an emergency landing. Once safely on the ground, flight attendants deployed the inflatable slides that shoot out from the emergeny doors to the ground. Rifat told me she slid down, but fell off the slide before reaching the bottom and broke some bones. To this day, she suffers pain from her fall. Now she is a flight attendant!
I asked her where she would have gone if she had died that frightening day. She did not know. I asked where she would go if she died today and she did not know. She told me that as a Muslim, she works hard to do good hoping that her good will outweigh her bad so that Allah might allow her to enter Paradise.
What a tragedy – To work for something you can never earn. Salvation is a gift.
I went through a few of the Commandments with Rifat to show her that the Prophet Moses understood we are not good people because we cannot keep the Commandments. I shared with her how the prophet Isaiah said that our good works are like filthy rags in the sight of God. If we were allowed into Heaven because our good outweighed our bad, which it doesn’t, then God would not be just.
She asked me a lot of questions and I did my best to answer them.
Obviously, Rifat could not accept the fact that Jesus is God. To her, this was blasphemy. She was willing, nonetheless, to hear me out.
“Rifat”, I said “You believe that God is all powerful, do you not?”
“Oh yes, of course He is!” She exclaimed.
“So you believe He can do anything. He is absolutely all powerful, right?”
“Yes!” She answered.
“With that in mind, that God is all powerful, is it not possible that God could become a man in order to be a sin offering on our behalf?”
She didn’t know how to respond.
“Rifat, that is the beautiful message of the Bible. You see, God is so holy He cannot forgive sin without the shedding of blood. If God simply swept our sins under the rug, He would be corrupt and unjust. Because He loves you, Rifat, God devised a special plan to rescue you from your sins and grant you everlasting life. The only way He could do this and still remain holy and just was by becoming one of us, a human being, and being punished in our place. Rifat, Jesus was fully God and fully man. He lived a life of no sin. This perfect, spotless Lamb of God was mocked and mutilated and nailed to a tree that He Himself created. He was spit on and humiliated. On the cross, God the Father poured out His fierce anger toward sin on His very own Son and crushed Him. Jesus was punished in your place. He paid for your sins in His own blood shed on the cross. This is why you can never work your way to Heaven. Jesus paid your debt in His sacrifice. Three days after He died, Jesus rose from the dead proving that He is God. After showing Himself to over 500 people, He ascended to the right hand of His Father. He now offers you forgiveness of your sins, but you must recieve this gift. Jesus commands you to turn from your sin to Him, placing your complete trust not in your good works, but in the work that He did on the cross.”
She was silent.
Remembering that it was the Fourth of July, I smiled and said,
“Rifat, Jesus purchased your freedom!”
The two of us talked for nearly an hour at the foot of the Capitol that day.
She told me at the end of our conversation, “There is a Bible in the drawer of my hotel room. I will read it tonight.”
I pray for her often.
I am traveling back to DC tomorrow for a friend’s wedding and I’ve been earnestly praying to run into people I spoke with last month, Rifat included!
Please join me in prayer for this precious soul.