A young woman on a team reaching out to Muslims was approaching a bridge in the Middle East. Her attention was drawn to an elderly lady, bent over and standing on the bridge. She felt God prompt her to go and tell the old lady that Jesus was known as the good shepherd, who carried his sheep over his shoulders. She waited to check this really was from God and approached the old lady. “I have a message for you,” she said, “Jesus is the good shepherd, he carries his sheep on his shoulder.” The old lady started to cry and gradually told the young woman her story.
The old lady was a Muslim from Syria and joined a group of people desperate to escape from the fighting, murders, and horror encircling their area: she had already had a husband killed. They paid a large sum to people smugglers to take them across the Syrian border to freedom. The night of their escape arrived and the group set out at 8 pm over the mountains and another hard terrain to reach a point of safety. The old lady struggled to keep up and constantly found herself lagging behind the group. She was dependant on her stick to keep going and on the kindness of the group waiting for her to catch up. At 5.00am the leader of the smugglers addressed the group, “We are significantly late now,” he looked accusingly at the old woman, ” now we need to run the rest of the way if we are to arrive before dawn when the Syrians will see us from their helicopters, shoot us and kill us.” He walked up to the old lady and said: “You will not come with us if we take you the whole group will die.” He broke her stick and left her behind.
The old lady sat on the ground, knowing there was nothing she could do, this seemed like her final resting place. Suddenly a man completely dressed in bright white came running up to her. He picked her up and put her on his shoulders and then he ran with her to cross the border and reach a safe place. He gently put her down on her own feet. “Who are you?” asked the old lady looking up into his face. “I will not tell you,” he said, “but go to the bridge and you will meet someone who will tell you who I am.” He gave her a location, directions and a time to arrive. As we can see from the beginning of the story God used the young woman as his messenger.
This remarkable story tells us three key things
- This is our Jesus, he loves us so much, He works wonders.
- He pursues Muslims, He rescues them, He loves them deeply
- He carries the old like a shepherd, He blesses them richly, He uses them to demonstrate His love.