Words by Jake Grey
The Light shines darkness, and darkness can’t overcome it.
For safety reasons, I can’t talk about where I live.
But that hasn’t discouraged me from sharing Jesus, not in the slightest. I’ve spent the last four and a half years living in a country that’s 99.8% confessing Muslim. In that time, I’ve had the opportunity to share Jesus in cities all over the country. I’ve seen God move in ways I would have never imagined. There are so many lessons Jesus has taught me through this time, but three of them stick out more than the others:
1. The Harvest is really, REALLY plentiful
Having grown up in Canada, I’m used to meeting people who have had encounters with Christianity, the Church, or believers in Jesus, but decided that kind of life wasn’t for them. I have met hundreds of people while sharing the gospel in Canada and can count on one hand the number of times I have met someone who has told me they don’t know anything about Christianity.
The country where I now live is much different. In North America, somewhere around half of the population would call themselves Christians. Where I live, that number is closer to about 1 in 14,000, or about one one-hundredth of a percent.
That means that someone living where I do would need to talk to 14,000 people in their country before they even met one person who called themselves a follower of Jesus. That’s insane! That means millions of people in my country alone go their entire lives without ever meeting a follower of Jesus. By extension, those same people go all their lives without hearing the gospel.
All this has made Matthew 9:36-37 super real for me these last few years, “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. So ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.”
2. God is a lot bigger, stronger, and more amazing than we think
One huge thing that struck me when I moved here was just how much God is doing around the world. Like, in a Book-of-Acts kind of way.
Do you know which country has the fastest growing Evangelical Christian population in the world? I would have thought it was some country in Africa or South America where we have historically sent most of our missionaries. I would have been wrong!
It’s Iran! Scary, threatening, terrorist funded Iran. Surprisingly, Afghanistan is second on that list! The places we’re most scared of—where we think the greatest darkness in the world is found—is where God is doing some of the most amazing things.
This hit home in a new way for me recently. Last month I had the honour of seeing two of my dear friends be baptized publicly. One of those friends was from Iran, the other from Afghanistan. The Iranian came to faith partly because his cousin and I prayed for his injured knee. Jesus touched the knee, and he was healed instantly. He hasn’t had knee pain since. Because of the encounter, he started asking questions about Jesus. The rest is history. Equally as amazing, my Afghan friend told us Jesus started showing up in his dreams and telling him He loved him. Prior to these encounters, he hadn’t experienced love and acceptance. This friend decided to follow Jesus and give everything up for Him: a natural reaction to someone experiencing unconditional affirmation. He’s currently praying for ways to be able to share Jesus with other Afghans who don’t yet know Him.
These stories are great, but they’re the tip of the iceberg. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting myriads of people who have been impacted by Jesus’ healing touch. From being completely healed of cancer to seeing massive wounds heal before their eyes, their stories range. I’ve seen people break into tears because someone shared an intimate word of God, specifically tailored to them. I’ve been able to share the love of Jesus in places where His name may have never been heard, and I’ve met people from more than a dozen different Muslims countries who have left Islam and come to Jesus.
All these encounters remind me that Jesus is much more amazing, wonderful, powerful, and loving than I could have ever imagined. In light of the miracles I’ve seen, Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:20 ring true, “Our God is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine.”
3. He just wants our “Yes”
In all the things that I’ve seen God do, in all the stories I’ve heard, the most profound reality is something simple: he only wants our “Yes.” He has invited all of us into a relationship with Him. He invites us into intimacy with Him.
Just think about the insanity of that for a second! God, the Creator of the Universe, spoke one sentence and a septillion stars exploded into a fiery existence on an ever-expanding cosmic canvas. He breathed a word and thousands of trillions of molecules gathered together into DNA, proteins, cells, and then into living creatures that filled all corners of the world. He only spoke a few sentences and reality came into existence. Then He called this reality “good”.
That same God — our same Father — says to you and me, “Hey, I have something good for you. I want to do something good in your life. In your friend’s life. I have something powerful to share with that homeless man and with the cashier.
I have awesome stuff I want to do, but I want to do it with you. I won’t do it without you. What do you say?”
If there’s one lesson I’ve learned through this adventure, it’s that our Father delights in us answering YES when He asks us those questions. He’s already invited all of us to live our lives with Him, to love people with Him, and to share the same hope He’s given us with the world around us. All of us have been given that invitation.
If we answer no, nothing happens. When we answer YES, and step out to follow Him (especially when we’re scared) His Spirit shows up and moves! He wants you and me to share His hope with everyone we come in contact with.
He’s already given you the invitation:
As you go, make disciples of every ethnic group, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I’ve told you.
The ball is in our court.
All He wants is our resounding “Yes”.
What do you say?
(Bio is in the page below).
Jake Grey: Jake is a student with entrepreneurial and philanthropic aspirations. He is a linguaphile, techy and likely addicted to coffee.