In the Garden

She had no idea what to do.

Heading home to see her family for the first time in over a year, Aisha asked me to pray with her.

As a new believer, she had not yet shared her faith in Jesus with her family, knowing it could destroy her relationship with her parents, as well as her place in the community. In this country, changing ones religion comes at a price many of us cannot fully grasp. It was during a season of nearly constant Hindu festivals, and the most important part of their calendar year. The atmosphere was spiritually charged as ceremonies and temple activities increased exponentially. Aisha was heading home in midst of this season, and knew that her family would expect her to take part in the ceremonies that celebrated Durga, the goddess of Motherhood.

“Would it be alright to participate,” she asked me anxiously, “as long - as in my heart - I am not engaging?”

We prayed together, and I asked God to make a way for Aisha to be obedient to him without breaking relationship with her family. As we prayed she began to weep.

“I see myself,” she whispered, “an image of myself, sitting on a swing in the garden outside of my family home. Jesus is sitting beside me!” Aisha blinked back the tears, and quietly counted the cost. She knew what God was showing her to do, and she knew the potential sacrifice. But he was also making her a promise, a promise of his presence. Jesus was with her in the garden, just as God had been with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Later that week, I received a message from Aisha. Arriving in her home city, she had become sick the very morning of the festival, too sick to participate in the ceremonies. She had felt peace, feeling that God made a way for her to not be involved at all, providing a safe path for her through the middle of an impossible situation. The ongoing tension was evident.

“It’s so hard!” she wrote. “I love Jesus so much more, and it breaks my heart to see anyone else being worshipped. I told Jesus that no matter what happens - even if I’m thrown out of my home - I will always know God to be the truth behind it all. For me it isn’t about religion. God makes me see him in everything.”

Please pray for Aisha. She has not yet had the chance to tell her family of her change in faith, and is waiting for an opportunity to do so. Pray that Jesus would continue to be with her, as he was in that garden.

by a worker in South Asia