Transitioning from sub-Saharan Africa to east Africa has been challenging yet incredibly fruitful for myself and our ministry. This area is known for a heavy Muslim influence. Muslim culture is often discussed as intimidating and impossible, but the Lord has revealed that lie is fear limiting love. Muslims aren’t any different from the rebellious giving into the desires of the flesh, those who try to be good morally, or atheists who could care less about the existence of God. Lost people are lost people regardless of their appearance of lostness. Strongholds of the enemy come in many forms, some are openly defying God, others mask brokenness by attempting to do more good than bad. Either way, there is sin and separation from God, and the Father’s heart has always been and will always be reconciliation and intimacy with His children.
Masks hide reality. I’ve met many Muslim women who live completely hidden. They cover themselves, so that no one can see them. My heart breaks knowing that Jesus died that we no longer have to live in shame. We no longer have to hide from Him.
One of my friends shared this revelation from Jesus’ teaching on the fig tree. After Adam and Eve sinned, they covered themselves with fig leaves (Genesis 3:7) because they were filled with shame. When Jesus was in Jerusalem, before going to the cross, He curses the fig tree, saying, “May no fruit ever come from you again (Matthew 21:18-22).” Jesus cursed the fig tree that man used to cover his shame because when He died, all shame was removed.
This message brings liberation from cultural oppression, freedom from condemnation, and restored intimacy with the Father. Romans 8:1-2 declares, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
On our most recent expedition, one team member wrote, “As we were speaking to this woman about receiving salvation, the scarf on her head slowly slid down. I saw this as the physical representation of the veil being torn down from this woman’s eyes.” She accepted Christ that day! The veil that covered her shame was removed.
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 declares, “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed from one degree of glory to another.”
When Jesus died and said, “it is finished,” the veil that separated mankind from the presence of God tore, giving us direct access to God. I will never grow tired of declaring this reality because it changes everything. It destroys every works-based thought, religious striving, and shame’s condemnation.
This testimony reminds me of this song that says,
Come out of hiding
You’re safe here with Me
There’s no need to cover
What I already see
‘Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave
Now rid of the shackles, My victory’s yours
I tore the veil for you to come close
There’s no reason to stand at a distance anymore
You’re not far from home