Dreams Amid Persecution
It wasn’t until Hamid found himself sitting in a prison cell that he realized that he had nothing to lose.
His younger brother Aziz was a new follower of Jesus. Aziz introduced Hamid to God’s Word, and they started studying the Bible together. After several months, Hamid began meeting regularly with Dennis, a Frontiers worker who was helping Aziz grow as a disciple. Not long after, Hamid professed faith in Christ.
But even though Hamid had intellectually accepted the Gospel message, his heart hadn’t truly encountered the love of Jesus. Nor did he have any desire to share the hope of Christ with others.
Hamid was like many other new Muslim-background believers. He needed help learning to foster intimacy with the Lord. So, Dennis invited several of the new believers, including Hamid and Aziz, to study the Bible with him.
“Let’s get together regularly so we can read the Word, practice listening to God, and obey what He tells us,” Dennis suggested.
For almost six months, the men sought to put John 10:27 into practice: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Dennis challenged each of the men to spend quiet time with the Lord and to listen to what He might say to them through the Word.
Listening in this way was a new discipline for the believers. They had never learned anything like this in Islam, and they were slow to warm up to the spiritual practice. For many months, Hamid and the others felt they were hearing nothing from God.
But God was about to reveal Himself in a dramatic way.
One day, Hamid sat in a park reading the Word. Police officers took notice and harassed him for reading a Bible. They arrested him and threw him in jail. He wasn’t charged with any crime, but the police still made Hamid spend the night in a cell, just to intimidate him.
Hamid was afraid. He felt miserable as he lay shivering on the cold, bare floor of the cell. Throughout the night, he slept fitfully.
And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security. You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will court your favor. - Job 11:18-19
At some point in the night, Hamid had a dream. Jesus approached him, embraced him, and placed a blanket over him.
Hamid woke the next morning full of peace. For the first time in his life, he had a clear sense that no matter what might happen, Christ loved him and was with him. The dream assured him of that.
Then he noticed that he was covered by a blanket—the same one Jesus had put on him in his dream. It startled Hamid. There certainly hadn’t been a blanket in the cell when he had fallen asleep.
The guards came and saw the blanket. They were so startled and frightened that they immediately let Hamid go, shoving him quickly out the door.
Back at home the next night, Hamid had another dream. This time, the Lord told him to share the Gospel with the first two people he saw at work the next morning.
In the past, this would have filled Hamid with fear. He had never shared Jesus’ message with anyone before. But that morning he woke up feeling confident that he could do it. He knew he had nothing to lose. His night in prison had shown him that Christ is always with him and His perfect love casts out fear. Even if sharing the Good News landed him back in jail, Jesus would be enough for him.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. - 1 John 4:18
Hamid obeyed. He shared the Gospel and his testimony with two co-workers, and they immediately believed the message. In the following weeks, Hamid began studying the Bible with them and teaching them how to be disciples of Jesus.
The experience encouraged Hamid and the other believers. They’ve begun sharing the Gospel more boldly.
“Hamid has since started seven new Bible study groups,” Dennis says. “Nearly forty men and women have become followers of Christ in the past year.”
Through persecution and a miracle, the Lord transformed Hamid’s fear and turned him into a bold disciple who is helping catalyze a movement to Jesus Christ among his people.
This account comes from a long-term field worker. Names have been changed for security.
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