The Road From Damascus
Ziad was born and raised in Damascus, finishing his schooling in this historic capital of Syria. Most of his life, Ziad had been a practicing Muslim like everyone else in his devout family. He would often accompany his father, his three brothers, and some neighbors to the mosque for Friday noon prayers and frequently for prayer on other days. The rest of the five daily prayer times he would observe at home or at work. Not once had he failed to observe the month of fasting since his boyhood.
After graduating from the state University, Ziad moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he worked for several years as a civil engineer. While he was in Saudi Arabia, he continued to participate in all the Muslim religious duties, as well as to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. At times he wondered about the Injil and the Tawrat, but he would brush these thoughts aside for he believed that through his traditional religious training, he knew all he needed to know about the Holy Bible and about Jesus Christ. Yet, according to his testimony, "what I had heard from my Christian friends in Damascus and had seen in their lives, continued unanswered for many years."
In 1979, Ziad, along with his wife and young daughter, Ghada, went to Germany for one year of specialized training as provided by his employer. During the family's stay in Germany, Ghada became very ill and was admitted to a hospital. After receiving medical care for 4 days with no improvement, the doctors seemed resigned to her imminent death.
Feeling overwhelmed by the scene of his daughter's paling face, Ziad left her room with a heavy heart, and returned to the waiting room. There he sat motionless, yet agonizing, for a few moments, until he noticed a table in the middle of the room which contained books and magazines. He saw two recognizable books -- an English version of the Holy Bible and a German version of it. He got up and walked over to the table and picked up one.
As he returned to his seat, he held the book closed while his memory took him back to some sayings of Jesus Christ which he had heard from his former Christian friends in Damascus. Recalling one saying, he eagerly opened the Book that was in his hand and directed by the Holy Spirit, began searching for the passage. When he found it, he began reading it silently:
I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it (John 14:13,14).
Seeing the willingness of the Son as expressed in these verses gave Ziad an abundant hope. He lifted a warm prayer to the Almighty God in the name of Jesus. His only request -- that his "dying" daughter would be healed.
"Immediately I felt a profound tranquility and assurance," said Ziad. "I left the waiting room filled with unprecedented joy, seeing light surrounding me. As soon as I came into Ghada's room, I rushed to her bed and hugged her gently, saying, "Ghada my sweetheart, god will heal you."
The certainly with which Ziad made this statement even astonished him, but he knew deep in his heart that God had answered his prayer.
The tears which had dropped from his own eyes onto Ghada's cheek as he embraced here, Ziad wiped off. With tears of joy still clinging to his eyes, he turned to his wife and said, "I have asked God in the name of Jesus to heal Ghada. Never before have I prayed so fervently, nor so simply in such a special way. Somehow I am assured that God has answered this prayer."
Indeed, Ghada was healed. Two days later, the doctors released her from the hospital. They could find no reason to detain her.
Since this amazing answer to Ziad's prayer, both Ziad and his wife have experienced the transforming work of God in their lives. They know the truth about Jesus Christ and proclaim their faith in Him. Later, Ghada followed them on this path; she too now believes that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.