Omar’s life was empty and full of troubles. He was weary and without hope. Omar shared his depressed state with a friend, who advised, “It’s time for you to go on the holy pilgrimage.”
Omar listened…because nothing else was working. So, he went, seeking hope and peace, and joined the multitudes of white-robed pilgrims to his religion’s famed city. He carried out all the required rituals at the various holy sites, including “Stoning the Devil.” But when it was over, he told his fellow pilgrims, “They told me I would find solutions and hope here. I haven’t. I’m still weary, worse than before and don’t know what to do.”
Discouraged, Omar went to the bus station to return home. The station was normally jammed with people, but not this time. There was only one bus left, and it was empty. It was a strange situation, but wanting to get going, he boarded anyway.
The driver spoke to Omar: “We don’t have any passengers yet, but I can see you have a problem. There’s a stone over there. See that large rock? Just go sit on that rock and talk to Isa [their name for Jesus].”
“But why?” Omar asked the driver, who was insistent.
“Try it. Go there. Talk to Isa. You’ve tried everything else.” Omar complied.
He walked over and sat on the rock. The moment he said “Isa,” his body began to shake. Omar felt something powerful filling his heart and body. “I spent two hours there without being conscious of the passing of time,” he shared. Finally, when Omar regained his bearings, he went back to the bus, but now it was gone. So he took a taxi to his next stop.
When at last he returned home, Omar sought out anyone who could tell him about Isa. He had to understand what had happened to him. He finally found a man who knew only a little about Isa. He told Omar, “I can’t help you, but someone gave me a DVD, a film called ‘Isa.’ Come to my house for dinner and we will watch together.”
Omar sat down and began to watch. The DVD came to the scene where John baptizes in the Jordan River. When he saw the face of the actor who portrayed Jesus, Omar couldn’t believe it. He began shouting: “Wow, that’s the driver! That’s the driver in the bus! He’s the One who told me to talk to Isa!”
He watched the entire “JESUS” DVD and heard the gospel presented faithfully and simply, including the words of Jesus, the very Word of God. Now he understood what had happened to him—his encounter with the bus driver. He had met Isa! Omar gave control of his life over to Jesus. A strong follower of Jesus in a nearby nation is now disciplining Omar.*
*This story comes from The Jesus Film Project. This particular account came directly from a key ministry director in the Middle East who trains and encourages “JESUS” teams in this troubled part of the world. With enthusiasm, he told the story of Omar, a man from an Arab Gulf country.