When news of persecution in the Middle East from secular and some Christian news sources replays in our minds, it is usually images of horrific torture, Islamic State, kidnapping of women, church burnings and heartless bloodshed. When I hear of Christian persecution in the region, such as atrocities committed in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State, I sometimes ask, “God, where are you? What are you doing?” And it is normal to ask such things. However, there is other news that is not reported; stories we don’t often hear about.
When I heard of the book ‘Dreams and Visions – Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World?’ by Tom Doyle, I knew I just had to read it. We usually think of dreams and visions as superstitions or hallucinations; we are like the apostle Thomas, doubting if it’s really true. However, the conversions and changes that have occurred in the lives of the Muslims mentioned in this book reflect the reality of a living God. He is able to breathe hope and change into a world dead in sin.
The cover of the book shows a woman in full traditional Muslim dress walking down a small alleyway somewhere in the Middle East. The alley is dark, but the light of the sun shines at the end. The image represents how our lives were before we found and experienced the joy we have in Jesus. Dead in our sinful ways, blind to the truth, but eventually finding the light of Christ’s love. I found this a very powerful image.
The book has countless stories of Muslims coming to Christ through the dreams and visions they have seen. I will not give away too much, but one particular story which I found quite moving was that of an imam from Egypt. The masked imam pointed a gun at a Christian who had been converting Muslims. The imam took him through the streets of Cairo to a room, where he was surrounded by more masked men. The Christian thought he was going to be with the Lord that day because of his efforts to convert many to Christ. But it turned out that the imam and the other masked men had all had visions of Jesus, secretly converted to Christianity and were meeting in secret to worship. The only safe way for the imam to bring the Christian into the room had been to point the gun at him. It would have been the imam’s death sentence if people had found out the men had converted to Christianity. Once they were inside the room, the imam apologised and asked if the Christian could teach them more about the Bible.
This book opened my heart more to Muslims, and reading the stories brought me joy that God is continually at work in this part of the world. He is constantly reaching people’s hearts, no matter where they are – yes, even in the Middle East. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” Revelation 3:20.
The fact that these Muslims are responding to Jesus through dreams and visions is an amazing testimony to the power of His love. It shows that the Holy Spirit changes lives and is able to melt even the hardest of hearts.
As Romans 15:13 says, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” I can just imagine the joy and the peace that these ex-Muslims have now in Jesus. This is a good book and I would highly recommend it to Christians who are interested to see God’s hand at work through dreams and visions.