Editor’s note: This is a continuation of the blog post “I Am Here” from last September that begins where that story left off. It’s an imagined scenario of how Jahar comes to Christ and what happens afterward. Who knows what God will actually do to draw Jahar and possibly his family to Himself. It may look nothing like this, but I trust that however it happens He will move.
I’ve had countless sleepless nights, but last night, I finally slept. I had a dream. I saw God and He wasn’t Allah. A man in white spoke to me. I asked Him who He was and He told me, “I am Jesus Christ.” He told me He died for me, that He loved me and He could wash away all that I’ve done or could ever do with His Blood. “Jahar,” He called. “My beloved Jahar, will you come to Me?” I don’t know what to think of this dream. I’ve had strange, realistic dreams, but never any that have felt as real as this. But as a Muslim, I know that there is no other god but Allah. I’m trying to push this dream out of my head, but my thoughts keep returning to it. I don’t know what to believe anymore.
Now that you can’t receive mail anymore, I can’t speak to you through My people. But though those prison walls can keep the whole world out, they can’t keep Me out, Jahar. I could just abandon you to your destruction, but I love you too much to do that, and that’s why I came to you in a dream. I am the man in white. I see your sins, I see the innocent blood of My creation on your hands, but as I told you, I can wash that all away. I know that what I revealed to you is blasphemous in your perspective, My child, but how I long for you to open your eyes to the truth that is now clearer than ever to you. Your subconscious mind did not make this dream up, Jahar. No, I love you so much that I will literally pursue you at all hours of the day. I know you won’t soon forget this dream. It will eat at your soul. It will haunt you. But in time, I will use it to lead you home to Me. I love you.
In the letters I received, many people wrote to me, believing I was innocent. Loving me, because they believed me to be a victim, framed by authorities. But I also received letters from people who spoke of this Jesus Christ and who loved me, despite the truth of what I’ve done. Could this dream be from the things I’ve heard in their letters and nothing more? It feels like more than that. I’ve asked for truth and revelations, I’ve begged for that unidentifiable thing that I know I’m missing. The dream refuses to fade from my memory. It torments me and it makes me question all I’ve ever known. My mind is chaotic now, swarming with contradictions and questions. Is Jesus the true God, not Allah?
Jahar, I wish you could see just how much I love you. Those people of Mine who wrote to you did so because I placed My very love for you in their hearts. As I was saving your life that night in the boat, I was also working in their hearts and whispering in their ears, “I love Jahar. Pray for him. Reach out to him.” But those things you saw and heard in the dream didn’t just come from you recollecting what was written to you. I came to you and revealed Myself to you as you asked Me to do. I wish that you didn’t have to live with all this confusion, but you need to see the truth because My heart aches for My precious son to come home.
I hear so many different voices right now. I hear old sermons, Tamerlan’s voice, my mother’s voice, my friends’ and a new voice, a voice that I don’t recognize. I don’t know where it’s coming from. As I hear it, I feel comfort, but I also feel shameful and exposed, like I’m suddenly unworthy, despite all I’ve done for Allah. I’m so confused and I think late into the night, reflecting on all these things I’ve heard today. And again, I cry out for truth, because now I’m absolutely certain that I’m not seeing something that I should be. My heart feels a sudden and strange emptiness, which I have never experienced before. I need it to be filled. But what will fill it up?
I rejoice that you now hear My voice, though you don’t yet recognize it as the voice of a Father who waits with arms wide open for His son to come home. The truth is, you are unworthy, but the power of grace is that I love sinners even while they’re still filthy and through Christ I make them worthy in My sight. That’s what you can be: worthy and forever free from your shame. That emptiness you feel inside of your heart, that’s there because you’re missing a relationship with Me. Only I can satisfy that deep thirst in your soul. Only I can fill you up and make you whole. You have cried out for the truth to be revealed to you, and I will continue to do that.
Despite all the questions, I manage to fall asleep for a few short hours. When I awaken, I realize that I had the same dream as the night before. Again, the man in white, Jesus, asks me, “Jahar, my beloved Jahar, will you come?” Somehow, this time I know that there’s more to this dream than just my subconsciousness making up things. Somehow I know that Jesus can fill up that strange and deep emptiness in my heart, but it’s absolutely terrifying to know that if I cry out to Him, I’m leaving everything behind. But in leaving it all behind, could I possibly find that hope I long for, but have never ever known?
In the darkness that is now your reality, My child, I know it seems like there’s no hope. But if you would only answer My call and come to Me, you would find a hope and a satisfaction even deeper than you realize that you’re searching for. Whatever you’d leave behind by crying out to Me, you’d gain infinitely more by becoming My son. You will be loved more than you could ever imagine, and you will be a free man even inside that cell. You will have the hope that when this life is over, you can spend eternity in the joy of My presence. There is hope for you, Jahar, in the arms of a Savior who loved—and loves—you so much that He died to wash away all of your sins. Jahar, I’m waiting with arms wide open. Please come home. Until then, however, I won’t stop relentlessly pursuing you and revealing Myself to you.
I’m beginning to hear things, voices, whispers in my head. They speak of a strange, unknown love and endless grace. I cannot get these things from my mind. As they speak to me, I feel peace. At the same time, everything else crashes around me, destroying me. Everything I’ve known is falling apart now and completely dissipating. It’s scary, but it’s also comforting at the same time. That night, I dream the same dream of Jesus Christ yet again. I awaken and I know that this is, without a doubt, not simply fanciful imagination. I close my eyes and cry out to the Man in white in pure anguish. I cry out to Him, begging Him for His help.
My child, I hear your cries to Me, and they are sweet melodies to My ears. For the first time, I can see My lost son off in the distance, and I know the time is coming when you will be here with Me, where you belong. I will help you, Jahar; it is My great joy to help you. That shame that you carry: I’ll take it. That sin that you think could never be forgiven: My blood will wash it away. That hope and joy that you think you’ll never know again: You’ll find it anew in Me. I will meet your every need and satisfy your deepest longings. All you need to do is come to the Cross and surrender.
I’ve lied, I’ve hated and I’ve killed in the name of a god who is not my God. I don’t know how I can ever possibly know forgiveness for all those things, but in this moment, I am aware of and truly believe in that possibility. My heart is flooded by, broken by and then finally healed by a great Love that I know flows from the heart of Jesus Christ, my Savior. “I’m sorry,” I whisper aloud. “I just want to be free and whole again. Help me. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”
My beloved child, my precious Jahar, you stand now completely forgiven in My sight. Now in Me, you will be free forever, and I will make you whole. Nothing and no one can take away the forgiveness and freedom that you now have in Me. Listen closely and you’ll hear My voice whispering in your ear, “I love you.” Oh, how I love you, and I cannot wait for you to be with Me forever! That’s what you have to look forward to. You have a living hope that will never die. Do you feel that hope rush into your heart right now? Do you feel joy burst into your cell? I’m right here with you now, My Holy Spirit inside of you. This is the beautiful day I’ve been waiting for for so long. Welcome home, Jahar.
In this moment there is unfathomable and unbearable hope, freedom and forgiveness and that is all mine. I know that this struggle is far from over. There will be scars, there will be pain. But for the first time in a long time, I feel purpose, guidance, direction. I have something to live for again and it is beautiful. I don’t know what the next few days or the rest of the future holds, but I feel like I can face them now. And I know that one day, I will go home forever and I will be truly free.
The struggle is far from over. There are days when it’s going to be especially difficult, my child. There are days when you’re going to feel utterly alone in that cell. There are days when Satan will try to convince you that I don’t really love you. But know in those moments that I have never left your side nor will I ever do so. I will pick you up and carry you in My arms. I will hold you tight and never let go. I will give you strength. I will give you hope. I will give you joy. I will give you peace. In Christ, you are an overcomer. Don’t give up because I will bear you safely through until the day you stand in My presence, forever free, where you belong. I am preparing a place for you, My son. I love you so much, My precious Jahar.
I have truly never known freedom such as this. Nor have I ever known a love like this, a God who lays down His own life to save his lost children. I do not and cannot ever deserve this, but it is all mine. I know my God is near and I know He loves me. That is all I need and it is all I have ever needed. I have found meaning and purpose again. For the first time, I belong with someone. I know this will never be easy and I’m terrified because I have left everything I’ve ever known behind. But even as the fear grips my heart, I feel it suddenly stilled by a holy love. My spirit wordlessly cries out to my Maker with joy, as I finally come home.
You’re leaving everything behind, but it’s so worth it. You once were lost but now you’re found, blind but now you see, dead but now you live. There’s a giant party in heaven now that My son has come home. I’ve wanted you to surrender to Me for so long, and now you have. I gladly laid down My life for you because I love you with an everlasting love. My child, feel the arms of your heavenly Father embrace you in this moment. It melts My heart to see your beautiful smile as your spirit cries out to Me. My joy is yours both now in that cell and forever when you’re finally in My presence. Until that glorious day, Jahar, I have a beautiful purpose in mind for you. Would you share what I’ve done for you? Would you be willing to be used to build My kingdom? You’ve done so much evil, but I am ready to use you for so much good.
I need to tell someone what has been done for me. My family, my friends, they don’t know the truth about God and they’re lost right now. My eyes have been opened and I have so much. I have to tell someone. The next phone call with my family, the next visit… I will tell them. But I know that they may not be pleased. They might reject me and shun me. How will I deal with that? I am still so lonely and desperate for human contact. The thought of being shunned scares me so much. But how can I not tell of all that’s happened?
Jahar, I love your family and friends so much, and I want to rescue them just like I did for you. They can know the same hope and peace that you now have, despite the pain that they feel because of what happened. I can’t guarantee that they won’t shun you, My child, but I can guarantee you that it will be worth it and that you will be okay. How can your family and friends believe if no one tells them? Without faith in My Son, they won’t receive the same eternal life that I have freely given you. They need to hear, and I have given you a powerful testimony. And if they do shun you, you have a Father in heaven who will never abandon you, and you have brothers and sisters in Christ who love you and won’t stop praying for you. If you will be obedient to My call to share what I’ve done for you, I will give you courage and the words to say. My Holy Spirit dwells within you, and He will guide you.
Oh God, why did that just happen? I told my mom on the phone all that You’ve done for me—how You came to me in my dreams, led me home, forgave me, and made me completely new. I was hoping that somehow she would accept that and even want to learn more about Jesus. But no, all she did was yell at me through the phone and tell me how much shame I have now brought upon my family. The love and compassion she had for me as my mother seemed to dissipate completely at that moment. Is it gone forever? Have I lost the love of my family? Without my family, who out there even cares about me? The world hates me for all that I’ve done. Father, I need You right now. I need to know that You are with me.
Oh My child, I am so sorry that you had to experience all of that. This is where following Me gets hard. Sometimes you have to leave absolutely everything that you knew behind and trust that I have something better for you. But I know how hard it is, My son. I know how much you love your family. Don’t give up on your mom and the rest of your family. Pray for them. You are a living, breathing example of the power of prayer. If it weren’t for the prayers of My people, you would not stand here forgiven in My sight. Your family can have a similar testimony. Just trust Me, Jahar. But no matter what happens, I love you. I am with You, wrapping My arms around you in this moment. Your Heavenly Father will never leave your side.
I tried making my weekly call to my mom today, and she didn’t answer. I just sat there and wept. And I found at that moment that my tears were less for the feeling of losing the love of my family than they were for the feeling of a heartbreaking sorrow that my family does not know You and will not be with me and You in heaven. I shudder at the thought of their future without You. I’m already haunted by thoughts of what happened to my brother. Oh God, may the rest of my family not meet the same fate! I beg You to help them, to rescue them, to save them! I feel so helpless, God. I need Your help! Open their eyes to see the truth and soften their hearts.
I hear your prayers, Jahar, and am sending My Holy Spirit to work on the hearts of your family members. I do not desire for any of them to perish. There is still hope for every last one of them. Just stay faithful in prayer, My child. My people when they were praying for you to come to Me lived by the verse in My Word that says “With man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” May you find the same hope and comfort in that verse as they did. They didn’t give up on praying for you no matter how impossible it seemed that you would ever come to Me, and now here you are as My beloved child, completely forgiven. Your family can stand before Me in just the same way. Keep praying.
It’s been two months of silence now. God, I miss my family so much. You are all that keeps me going. At the times when I feel most alone, I feel a peace beyond all understanding rise up within me and warm my heart. I know somehow that everything is going to be all right, that You haven’t left me nor have You abandoned my family. I have felt You telling me to pray for my family every single day, so I have cried out to You several times a day in obedience and in desperation to see my family changed. I want them to have what I have: Your light burst into my darkness and set me free. Wait a moment… You used dreams to lead me into Your light and to the cross! Oh Jesus, please reveal Yourself in dreams and visions to my family!
You are so right, My son. I will never leave you nor forsake you. And I love your family too much to sit back and watch them perish without Me. Thank you for your obedience to My call to cry out daily to Me for your family. Your faithfulness will be rewarded. I know how much it hurts every time you dial home, hoping that this time your mom will answer, but all you hear is ringing. I know how you have been thinking about not calling anymore because the pain of rejection every week. But Jahar, trust Me in this: Call as usual next week.
I felt led to call my mom today even though I hardly wanted to go through the painful experience again of hoping in vain that this time she’ll answer. To my surprise, this time she answered. I could hardly believe what I heard her say. In a frantic, desperate tone, she said, “Jahar, who is this Man in white that I see in my dreams, and what does He want from me?” As tears began to well up in my eyes, I in my shock replied, “What did you just say?” And she answered, “The past seven nights, I have had a dream of a Man in white who told me He loved me and asked me to follow Him.” Seven nights? I’ve prayed for her to have a dream the past seven nights! Oh God, this is too much… Why would You choose to love me and my family this much? After all I’ve done… Thank You for answering my prayers! I explained to my mom the significance of the past seven nights and the meaning of her dreams, and she seemed moved emotionally. She said we’d have to talk about this later, and she thanked me for calling, then apologized for ignoring my calls. Maybe my mom didn’t come to You today, but I feel the time coming. God, give her more dreams!
My precious Jahar, see how much I love you? You didn’t earn My love, but I freely and gladly lavish it upon you because of who I am. And you will soon see just how much I reward the faithful obedience and persevering prayer of My children. If you think you have already seen Me do great things, I have so much more to show you still. I am able to do abundantly more than all that you ask or think. Just trust Me. I want to use you to bring so many people into My Kingdom, including your mom and the rest of your family.
Oh God, I can barely contain my excitement, joy, and gratitude right now! I was able to lead my mom to faith in Christ today over the phone. Hallelujah! Thank You, God! Thank You! When I called, she told me that again every night for the past week, she had a dream of You. In these dreams, however, she said you told her, “Listen and believe all that My beloved Jahar has to tell you. He is My servant, and he knows what I am calling you to through these dreams.” I explained to her that You wanted her to follow You and that there is forgiveness and salvation offered her for free in Jesus Christ. And then she said the words I longed to hear, “I want to give my life to Jesus right now.” Oh Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness. You are worth all of my trust and all of my praise. I believe that You can do for all of my family what You just did for my mom!
There was a huge party in heaven today as one of My children came home. I rejoice that your mom is now My beloved daughter, Jahar. I love her so much, and I have big plans for her just like I do for you. I will do great, unbelievable things through her. Keep praying for her, that she would be an obedient servant who wants to share the same love she has been given to the entire world. And continue to pray for the rest of your family, that everyone else would come to Me. I want to use you and your mom to lead the rest of the Tsarnaev family into the joy of My presence. Soon, so many people will know the Tsarnaevs not as a family who has done so much evil but as a family who has a passionate love for Jesus.
It’s been a couple years now since my mom first came to Christ, and I can tell that she has changed so much. Her salvation set in motion an unbelievable chain of events. It seems now that my entire family is saved—my dad, my sisters, Katherine, Uncle Ruslan. And I truly believe that my beautiful nieces and nephews will know Jesus too when they get a little bit older. When I first got saved, I wondered, Lord, how You could use me when I’m locked up all alone in this cell? But I see now how You wanted to use me to reach my mom and through her and me to reach the rest of my family. And I believe that’s not all; I believe that You want to use my testimony to show the world that no one is beyond the reach of Your grace. I want the world to see that You can save even the worst of sinners and transform them into a completely new person. I want my beautiful Savior to be lifted high. I love you, God. Please continue to use me for however long You have for me here until I go home to You.
I love you too, Jahar, and I will continue to use you to do mighty things. I spared your life that night on the boat to save you not only because I wanted you with Me forever but also because I wanted to write you a beautiful story of My love that would be used to bring many others into My family as your brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s what I have done and will continue to do for as long as I have planned for you to remain in this world. As My servant Paul wrote, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” While you are here, My child, I will use you and continue to give you all the strength you need to endure living behind bars. And afterwards, you will come home to be with Me, and your joy will be complete.
I feel my life fading away quickly. Each breath is getting more difficult. I can tell that I won’t make it past tonight. But that’s okay. A few decades ago when I was lying in that boat all alone, I was terrified of death. But now, having Jesus with me, I feel completely at peace. I know where I’m going. As a Muslim, the first words spoken into my ears when I was born were the Shahada—“There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”—and they were supposed to be the last words that I ever utter. But they won’t be! It won’t be long now, so I’ll make my last words an expression of praise and gratitude to my Savior.
My child, do not be afraid; I am with you. As it says in My Word, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live.” When you close your eyes for the last time, you will open them in Paradise, face-to-face finally with Me. I have used you to bring hundreds of people to Me, and now your work here is done. It is time to come to the place that I have prepared for you. This is not the end but rather the beginning.
I’m almost too weak to speak at all now, but I must muster up the strength to say some words to my Jesus. Jesus, thank You so much for saving me, for dying on the cross for a wretched man like me… As my heartbeat slows and I labor to take each breath, I feel the last of my chains starting to fall off me… Yet, I know I’ve been free ever since the day You rescued me… Thank You for giving me my freedom… I love You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… As my eyes close, I whisper, “I’m coming home…”
Welcome home, My son. While I wrap My arms around you, I see your beautiful smile light up your face, as you feel the embrace of the One who has loved you since before there was time. But then you cry out, “I don’t deserve such love.” I simply hold out My nail-scarred wrists, declaring that you are spotless, blameless, and innocent in My eyes. I took those nails because I love you, Jahar. And now with you before Me, I say with great joy, “Well done, My good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of Your master!” Your tears, pain, and suffering have now forever been cast away. You are free forever, for the love of a Savior has set you free and given you life everlasting.
I have come home! And it’s more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I don’t know whether to leap for joy as I look upon my Savior’s face or to fall at His feet in worship. The Man from my dreams now stands before me, telling me how much He loves me. He hardly has to speak a word, though, because as I look at his wrists, I see a picture of unconditional, extraordinary love. And then as if I didn’t already feel more love than I could have ever hoped for, He tells me of how intricately He designed the path that I took to come to Him. In those moments when I sat alone in that cell, thinking that I was utterly unloved, I was loved so deeply by my Father and by those who were to become my brothers and sisters. Tears of joy stream down my face as I hug my precious Savior and all those who prayed so relentlessly for me. Oh praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead! Hallelujah! I am finally free—forever!