Face to Face with Jesus by Samaa Habib and Bodie Thoene

Face to Face with JesusI’m not going to lie—this book was a challenge to read. The author, Samaa Habib, has experienced hardship and persecution unlike anything I’ve ever even heard, and her experiences are hard for this skeptic to believe. She grew up Muslim in a middle eastern country torn by civil war, converted to Christianity, and shared her faith in all circumstances—with her family, with strangers, with people who planned to harm her. Her family endured no food, no electricity, and no safety as the Sunnis and the Shiites fought in the streets around them. She put up with physical and emotional abuse from her father and brother for leaving Islam and escaped death many times until she was killed in a church bombing.

But her story doesn’t end there. Though she died and saw Jesus, and He sent her back to reach others for Him. And though He healed her body beyond what anyone would have believed possible, He didn’t do it instantaneously. She had a long recovery.

The persecution Samaa and her family experienced as a result of following Christ surprised me, as did the number of people who were receptive to Gospel presentations. In my reading, I discovered I had a lot of preconceived notions of Islam and Muslim countries that I didn’t realize I had. How refreshing to have those upended!

Face to Face with Jesus challenged my cynicism regarding people who die and come back to life. It’s so much easier to believe stories Samaa’s when you know the circumstances and can discern the heart of the person who experienced it. Her story allowed me to do just that. The writing was decent, but it was the way the story of the bombing was intertwined with the stories of the war and how each of Samaa’s family members came to Christ that pulled me in.

If you want to have your faith (and your comfort) challenged, Face to Face with Jesus is a good place to start.

*I received a copy of this book from Chosen Books in exchange for my honest review. These opinions are my own and were not influenced by the publisher or author.