Friday, December 18, 2015

"Face to Face with Jesus" Book Review by Jim Hart

Face to Face with Jesus is far more than a former Muslim’s experience of seeing Jesus in Heaven. Samaa Habib was a victim of a bombing while she was attending a Christian church service and tells of meeting Jesus face to face in Heaven. Her actual accounts of seeing Jesus are minimal parts of the book, covered briefly in portions of just a couple of chapters. There is greater length given to the details of her recovery after the bombing, and God’s faithfulness to her.

Before this though, she tells of seeing a vision of Jesus on the cross crucified, and of hearing God speak to her. But even these accounts take just a few pages to cover. The Epilogue recounts four specific dreams that she had during, and after, a 40 day fast.

The greater focus of Face to Face with Jesus is Samaa’s story of how she, a teen aged Muslim girl, came to faith in Jesus Christ. A gift of a children’s Bible was instrumental in revealing Jesus as the God who loved her. She tells of attending a Taekwondo class that was used by missionaries as a way to share the Good News.

Samaa shares stories of her life growing up in a Muslim country that was torn by civil war. She recounts numerous times the atrocities performed by Muslim men toward Muslim woman. She tells how Christians are often violently persecuted as the infidels, often at the hands of their own family.

One theme of Face to Face with Jesus that made a strong impression on me was that of Samaa’s growing habit of fasting and praying as a way to come closer to the Lord, and for the strength to endure persecution. She repeatedly tells of the joy she finds at the revelation that the One True God loves her with an everlasting love. This was counter to all that she had been taught as a Muslim. Much Scripture is used throughout the book as a way to confirm what the Lord was showing and teaching her.

By the end of the book many member of her family had become Christians and Samaa entered Bible School and became actively involved in evangelism and missions.

The reports of great numbers of Muslims coming to faith in Jesus Christ are more than encouraging. It should be a cause for great rejoicing because it demonstrates that no one is beyond the reach of God’s grace. We can celebrate the lengths to which Jesus will go to make Himself known.

There are growing stories of Muslims, Buddhists, and others who say that Jesus has come to them in visions and dreams. However, there are those who are skeptical of these stories. It's hard to dismiss such a large number of these stories. Especially when considering the personal risk that is involved in a Muslim publicly declaring their faith in Jesus Christ. We need to examine the fruit that is born by these experiences. In Samaa Habib’s case that fruit is clear and has been used to advance the Kingdom of Heaven.

Face to Face with Jesus is a quick read with deep takeaways for the reader. It's a close look at what Jesus is doing in the lives of former Muslims. It shows the high cost of following Jesus in predominantly Muslim nations.

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