Before the death of the legendary Muhammad Ali—a Muslim–I said a prayer for him–that God the Father might draw him to Jesus the Christ—and I said so on Social Media. I expected one of my few Muslim friends to take offense to this, but it is many professed Christians who seem have more of a problem with my prayer.
I wonder what Bible they’re reading—a rhetorical musing because I know that reading and comprehending are two separate concepts.
Now let’s get this straight; I have no idea whether God answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to my prayer and I’m okay with not knowing. What gets me is how many Christians are saying that no deathbed conversions exist. I mean, how would anyone know one way or the other? And some are ridiculing the notion that we Christians should pray for the conversion of Ali’s Muslim family!
And then there’s that whole chronicle about the thief on the cross—the one who, through an act of faith, got a last minute get-out-of-Hell free card—a death “bed” conversion. When I mentioned it, someone actually told me that this was a one-time event—that it would never happen again!
Seriously, why believe in a god who can’t see what’s in your heart, who doesn’t know your heart infinitely better than you know it yourself, and who can’t have mercy on even the worst of us in seconds?
Why believe in a God who can’t make a day last longer than the standard 24 hours?
Why believe in a God who can’t take a murderer of Christians and turn him into Christ’s most convincing earthly apologist?
I’m unfamiliar with this deity in which many Christians say they believe—this god whose name is not El Shaddai.
I’m also unfamiliar with a deity who does not want us to pray for living unbelievers—like most of Ali’s family and a few members of my own.
Whoever this limited deity is in whom some Christians say they believe, I don’t think he’s worth worshiping. As for Ali, he knows the truth now, and it’s likely that he’s full of regret. Not certain, but likely.
Don’t let that be your fate, Christians; the God I do know says that we will give an account for everything we say and do. I have enough stuff to account for and I’m sure that you do, too. Friendly advice: limit the list.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.
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