He shared his mobile phone number with me afterwards, which is how I came to be meeting him in town this afternoon. We sat in a pavement cafe and he bought me a cup of tea. He confirmed that the pain had gone from the centre of his back after our ministry some 5 weeks ago. He comes from Transylvania (home of Dracula) and speaks five languages. He grew up bi-lingual, speaking Romanian and Hungarian. Long story short, he told me he had done some really bad things in the past. He suffers from a number of several ailments, including stress and anxiety.
He also suffers other pains just above the hip bone, both sides, so we both stood on the pavement at the cafe while I laid hands on both hip areas. First time I did it he got an improvement. Second time it got even better, third time (well, you get the idea!) and fourth time all pain left. He said he could feel heat, also a numbness that was going down his leg. I assured him that heat and a spreading numbness were good, and signs that God was at work. During all this the cafe proprietor was standing six feet away watching me with my hands on another man’s hips, praying out loud – both in English and tongues – clearly wondering what was going on! There were also security cameras on a tall post 20 feet away, so those manning the camera monitors would also have a good view.
He still maintained he didn’t believe in God and compared himself to Doubting Thomas. “If I see, then I believe”. I was praying to think of ways to help him find forgiveness and freedom in Christ. I finally suggested that he make a list in one of his native languages of all the bad things he’d done. He should then meet up with me and we would then set fire to the list. It would be a symbolic way of lightening his load and showing God that he was moving forward, albeit as a doubter. He seemed agreeable, so I suggested a place and time to meet and said I’d bring the matches. He double checked on my suggested meeting point, so I think he’ll turn up. He also has another medical problem and he suggested I might pray for that when we meet.
While doing Healing On The Streets today a Muslim man came over and asked what we were doing. I explained who we were and why we were there. He told me he worshipped not at the local mosque but at a house nearby. The lady I was with said:”well, we worship the same God, don’t we”.
I then engaged him in conversation and highlighted ( for the lady’s sake) some of the differences that reveal we do not worship the same God. I pointed out that Jesus says:”love your enemies, do good to those that hate you”, whereas Mohammed incited his followers to violence, which the Muslim man didn’t deny. In his defencehe went on to point out the violence perpetrated by some prophets in the Old Testament. I didn’t dispute that, but we were comparing Jesus and Mohammed, not Old Testament prophets and Mohammed.
He agreed that Allah was a God of love, and that he is one God. I then asked him “who did Allah love in the millions of years before he created either men or angels?”. Since Allah was “on his own” for aeons of time, he couldn’t love anyone since no-one existed apart from himself. He maintained that Allah loved people before they existed, when he was planning creation. This seemed to me a thin, abstract argument. The Christian God on the other hand had always existed as a plurality, in a family relationship of mutual love. The Bible says: “I, the Lord, do not change”. If our God changes not, then the God Allah who changes to become a God of love after creation is not the same God Christians worship. Other points I raised included: many details such as Jesus’ birth, tribe and place of birth were foretold by prophets. This was not true of Mohammed. Jesus did miracles, Mohammed did not. None of my points found acceptance in his mind, sadly.
We packed up at 1pm and moved to our rendezvous point to be picked up by car. While standing there, a man with a can of beer in one hand and two cigarettes in his other asked us who we were. We told him and he explained he was out of prison on license. He had a injury to his wrist so we prayed for him and blessed him. He appreciated it and went on his way.