Does Allah Run To Us?

What a question: “Does Allah run to us?”

The idea of God running may seem ridiculous to some. They might say, “God is not a human. He has no body. He is spirit. Of course He doesn’t run. It isn’t logical.”

The idea of God running may seem disrespectful to others. They might say, “It is beneath the dignity of God to be seen as running. He is majestic. Transcendent. Running is far below Him. He sits on a throne and rules. Of course He doesn’t run. It isn’t appropriate. It isn’t right.”

I certainly understand those sentiments.

I never want to portray God in a way that is untrue, disrespectful, or undignified in any way. I love Him too much to purposely diminish His glory.

Having said this, I am reminded of an incredible story told by Jesus in the Holy Injeel (Luke 15:11-31). Jesus was being criticized by the Jewish religious leaders for spending time with “sinners.” In response to their prideful disdain for people who did not obey the laws of God, Jesus told 3 “parables” – stories designed to reveal God’s incredible love for lost people.

The third and best known of the 3 stories – known as the “The Parable of the Lost Son” or “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” – tells of a son who shamed his father terribly by asking for his inheritance, left home for a foreign country, and squandered all his wealth in wild living. Jesus said this prodigal (a person who spends money recklessly and wastefully) son eventually found himself starving in a time of famine. Because of this, he “came to his senses” and determined to humble himself and go back to his father in sincere repentance for his many sins against him.

Jesus tells what happens next as the son headed home (Luke 15:20–24):

“. . .he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate.”

Jesus was trying to tell the spiritually prideful – but spiritually blinded – religious leaders that “God is not Who you think He is.”

It’s as if Jesus said, “Yes, you religious leaders are right to believe that God is totally holy and cannot allow sin in His heaven. Sin must be dealt with.”

“But this what you don’t understand. You don’t understand God’s love. God is like that father who ran to that undeserving, shame-filled (but truly repentant) son and welcomed him home.”

The religious leaders could not understand this kind of love.

They could not fathom this kind of God.

This is the life-changing truth that we all need to know:

God still welcomes and embraces – like the father in the painting of the prodigal son and his father above – all who come to Him in genuine sorrow for their sins against Him.

This is the God I love.

A God who runs.

12 thoughts on “Does Allah Run To Us?

    • Yes, Wayne!

      And is it not remarkable that God ran to us (as Romans 5 in the Injeel says) while we were in such a terrible condition?

      He saw that we were:

      * “powerless” to save ourselves from our sins (we were totally helpless, headed for hell)
      * “still sinners” (He didn’t wait for us to clean up our act, get everything right)
      * “God’s enemies” (strong language, but that is the state of the unrepentant person).

      God ran to us in our desperate condition!

      What love!

    • Dee Dee,

      First of all, thank you for reading and thank you for your response. All responses are welcome here if done with respect.

      Dee Dee, I don’t know you but I want to respond to your comment with 2 points – actually 1 point about what I believe and a series of questions. So. . .here goes:

      If you have read my blog for any length of time, I hope you know that I don’t believe all theological beliefs lead to the same ultimate place. I say without apology that I am a Christian. I believe in historic Christianity as expressed in the New Testament and the foundational creeds of the early Church (Apostles Creed, etc.): one God, Jesus as the only Son of God, the death of Jesus for the sins of the world, the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead, salvation by grace through faith (alone), and so forth.

      Second, may I ask you a few questions:

      *** Do you know any Muslims?
      *** Do you have any Muslim friends?
      *** Have you ever dialogued with a Muslim about who God is, why Jesus came, how we can get to heaven?
      *** Do you love Muslims?
      *** Do you care about them?

      You see, for the most part I can say a strong “yes” to all of these questions. The Muslims who know me (some may read this) know that I care about them. They know what I believe about Jesus but they also know that I love them.

      Why do I say this? Hopefully not to boast! (I take no credit for this love that God has placed within me for the people of Islam). No, I say these things and ask these questions because I want to encourage you to build bridges and not walls with Muslims.

      To use the word “idol” is a strong statement that will elicit strong responses from Muslims.

      More questions:

      *** Do you ever put people in your life – a friend, spouse, child, parent – in front of God?
      *** Do you ever put personal safety or comfort before the call of Jesus to follow him – regardless of the cost?
      *** How about your dreams and goals – do you ever give them a higher place than God?
      *** Have you ever resisted doing anything or going any place for the sake of Jesus and his Gospel?
      *** Have you ever discovered that the image you had of God in your mind had an element of error in it? That you misunderstood His character in some way?

      If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you – like me – are guilty of having “idols” in your life. You are guilty of idolatry! When you realize that you have had idols in your own life, it makes you more careful about statements about idolatry in the lives of others.

      What do you think about that?

      Dee Dee, I am not denying that Islam and Christianity have fundamental differences in very, very key areas that are essential to salvation. May every Muslim reading this blog know that. But to just throw out the “idol” word without love, friendship, and respectful dialogue just builds walls – walls that block the communication between us that is so desperately needed!

      I prefer to build bridges.

      On the bridge of real love and friendship, we can talk sincerely, honestly, and respectfully about how we see Allah and Yahweh – the similarities (and there are many) – and the differences.

      It is a valid topic.

      But only when done with love.

      I hope you will join with me in this incredibly important pursuit.

      • It is a worrying thing when a pastor argues about the bible yet does not use scripture to prove his point. Pastor Mark, were in the bible does it say we should build bridges with the religions that oppose Christianity? Where?

        • Dee Dee,

          I am sorry to be slow in responding to your question. But may I say, you never answered my questions! I hope you will. They are incredibly important.

          Dee Dee, maybe I need to clarify a few things so you know more where I am coming from. When I speak in my blog about “building bridges,” I am not talking about compromising Biblical truth. When I speak of “building bridges,” I am referring to showing kindness, respect, and love to people of all religions – whether they oppose different parts of Christianity or not. Finally, when I speak of “building bridges,” I am attempting to find common ground with people of various faith traditions.

          As I stated before to you, between Islam and Christianity, there are serious and vital core differences. Anyone would have to be either blind or dishonest to deny that. But as I have also stated before, there are aspects of faith that Muslims and Christians share. Where they share common tenets (monotheism, virgin birth of Jesus, sinlessness of Jesus, miracles of Jesus, etc.), we can meet on a “bridge” and better discuss our differences.

          You ask for Bible verses. No problem. Good for you! We should always use the Bible as our guide as Christians.

          Below are some Biblical examples of God sending various people to people of other religions – religions that often were completely opposed to their faith in Yahweh. I believe they were sent there by God as “human bridges.” Sometimes they brought a message. Sometimes they served, even as slaves. Sometimes they experienced terrible pain and tragedy. Sometimes it was dangerous. But all of them were used in some way to be a “bridge” between God and people of other religions – even if it was for just one person.

          Joseph was sent by God to the Egyptians (Genesis 50:20; Psalm 105:16-24).
          Naomi was sent by God to the Moabites (I believe The Book of Ruth strongly infers this).
          Daniel was sent by God to the Babylonians (The Book of Daniel – again, strongly inferred).
          Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were sent by God to the Babylonians (Ibid).
          Elijah was sent by God to the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:8; Luke 4:25-26)
          Elisha was sent by God to Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5:1-14; Luke 4:27).
          Ananias was sent by God to Saul/Paul (Acts 9:10-19).
          Peter was sent by God to Cornelius (Acts 10).
          Paul was sent by God to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15-16; Galatians 1:15-16).

          And then. . .there was. . .Jesus.

          Jesus was sent by God to the human race as the ultimate “bridge” – a perfect bridge between God and sinful humanity (1 Timothy 2:5).

          He built “bridges” in his life on earth with people no one cared about or even despised: tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, Roman soldiers – even (gasp!) eating with them (Matthew 9:10-13). He was rightfully called “a friend of sinners” (Matthew 11:19)

          He built a “bridge” in his death didn’t he? His body – hanging between heaven and earth. On a hard, wooden cross. For people who “opposed” him. Hated him. Shouted for his death by crucifixion (Matthew 27:22-23). Mocked him. Shouted insults at him while he was dying (Matthew 27:39-44). The whole human race was basically an “enemy” of God (Romans 5:10). But he came anyway and built that “bridge” so we could be forgiven and live forever with his Father in heaven.

          As I close. . .I have a few more questions for you:

          Will you join me in loving Muslim people? Will you open your heart to them? Will you let God soften your heart? Will you allow yourself to hear God’s voice to you regarding this people that He loves? Will you join me in being a “bridge” – like Jesus and all the others?

          I pray that one day you will say “yes!” to all these questions.

          • *** Do you know any Muslims?
            
*** Do you have any Muslim friends?

            *** Have you ever dialogued with a Muslim about who God is, why Jesus came, how we can get to heaven?

            *** Do you love Muslims?
            
*** Do you care about them?

            I honestly didn’t want to answer these because they are almost pointless. But since you insist. The answer to these questions is yes. I do have Muslim friends but very few.

            To use the word “idol” is a strong statement that will elicit strong responses from Muslims. But to just throw out the “idol” word without love, friendship, and respectful dialogue just builds walls –

            1) Idolatry is a word the Lord our God did not hesitate to mention more than once in the bible. Are you saying that that was not loving? Pastor Mark why do I get the sense you want me to water down word? The Word is beautiful as is and that’s the way I will share it.
            2) I hope that you actually read the article and that you realize it was a quote. And I see nothing wrong with it.
            3) Are we here not make friends or preach the gospel?
            Christians are to preach the word of God. The word can cause dispute Pastor Mark. Meaning you will lose friends and maybe even family.
            Matthew 10:35-36 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.
            Honestly I am more than ready for their responses. I FEAR NO ONE BUT GOD.

            On the bridge of real love and friendship, we can talk sincerely, honestly, and respectfully about how we see Allah and Yahweh – the similarities (and there are many) – and the differences. It is a valid topic. But only when done with love.
            REAL LOVE? Your definition of love is watching people going to hell and instead of telling them keeping you mouth shut and talking about similarities instead? It really doesn’t matter how many similarities there is a reason they are classified as different religions. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. THEY DENY JESUS THEY HAVE DENIED OUR GOD. THERE GOD IS NOT OURS. OURS IS THE TRINITY THIERS IS NOT.
            Can I ask where in the scripture did you see anyone sit down with someone of another faith and talk about their similarities? I have read it and have not have seen anything like it. And after reading the scriptures you gave me I still didn’t.
            I love people not just muslims. But we must love them enough to tell them hellfire is awaiting them

  1. Mark, thanks for your post and subsequent answers to Dee Dee’s questions/concerns. I sort of forgot what your post was about, God running to us. I don’t think you ever suggested that Allah runs because he is the same exact god. I appreciate your goals and your heart and your attitude towards both Christians and Muslims.

    • Mike, thanks for reading!

      With Dee Dee, I was trying to say that there is a game that I don’t want to play. It’s called, “My God is better (bigger, greater, etc.) than your God!” How does that kind of bravado promote learning and growth and friendship – or even the pursuit of truth? It actually sounds kind of childish, doesn’t it?

      I would so much rather talk about questions like:

      “What do you find most amazing about God?”
      “Why do you love Jesus?”
      “Why did God send Jesus to us?”
      “How is prayer meaningful to you and what is a recent answer to prayer that you have seen?”
      “Where do you find the greatest comfort in your Holy Book?”
      “Do you think we can we face the Day of Judgment with confidence? If not, why not? If so, how?

      When we talk like that, we can really get somewhere.

      As for me, I am just so thrilled that Jesus described God as One so incredibly loving of us that He “runs” toward us when we repent (a figure of speech for His passionate movement toward us)!

      • Oh my bad. I m sorry. When you asked “Does Allah Run To Us?” I didn’t realize “us was not referring to Christians. It was referring to you and your Muslim brothers

        • Dee dee, as I shared with you some time ago, “Allah” is simply a word in Arabic for our English word “God.” Arab Christians all over the Middle East have used the word for centuries – long before the time of Muhammad. They still use it.

          In that post, when I used the word “Allah,” I was just using it as a name for God in the Arabic language.

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