Jesus promised that we will have challenges in this world. At the same time, we are told to be a witness to the ends of the earth and share the Gospel:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
It may feel impossible to witness when we are up to our neck in hardships, but we have to remember this key verse:
“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
Why are hardships a great time to share the Gospel?
There’s a lot to unpack in the three verses above, but we can sum it up in one sentence: Even in the midst of our struggles, we can be a witness, because we know that when we rest in the love of God, we gain perseverance, character, and hope. Is there a better testimony in front of others than for them to see us in our weakest times glorifying God, persevering, and never losing our joy and peace?
Those three traits, perseverance, character, and hope, are great ways to testify to how a relationship with Jesus can change our life by giving us strength to press on in trials because of the hope we have ahead of us (Philippians 3:13).
We can experience this living hope deeply during our struggles when we choose to run to the Lord and enjoy a close relationship with Him. Not only that, but the Lord promises that He always works things out for good, and that assurance gives us the ability to persevere through hard times. We know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The “character” we gain through hardships is the process of becoming more like Jesus. He is the perfect example of how to live our lives. So in a counterintuitive way, hardships are for our benefit, shaping us into “little Christs” and forcing us to rely more on God. Without struggles and brokenness, how would our relationship grow deeper with Him?
How to talk about your struggles with your Muslim friend in a way that points them to Jesus
When talking to your Muslim friend about what you’re going through, the key is to be honest. You don’t need to pretend that because you have a relationship with Jesus that life is always perfect. In fact, if you’re honest with them about what you’re going through, it opens up the door to talk about how you are managing to persevere!
Imagine sitting with your Muslim friend and they ask how you are doing. You’re honest with them about what you’ve been going through, and they ask, “How can you handle all of that at once? You seem so calm and at peace!”
This is the time to give glory to the Lord by sharing that your Heavenly Father is the One who is carrying you during this time and preserving your peace and joy. After all, the joy of the Lord is our strength! Share how you’ve been spending more time praying, reading the Word, and listening quietly to God’s voice. Explain why you do this so your Muslim friend does not think these are religious rituals to please God or gain His sympathy, but so that they see how you are spending time with a loving God and friend.
Don’t sugarcoat what you say to be anything more than the truth. If it’s been hard for you to trust God, you can say that. But then use Scripture to show your Muslim friend why you are still relying on God anyway. Or point back to a time in your life where you previously felt helpless and God answered your prayers. Not only will this remind you of how God answers prayers, but it will show your Muslim friend the relationship you have with God through Jesus Christ.
Some Bible verses for you during struggles
“... fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
“Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12