Today I’m over at A Life Overseas. I’m going to say ahead of time that this one was a difficult one to write. When we hold truth claims, when we place high value on our faith we end up grappling with some tough questions. So I write this with great humility and trust that the One who hears our hearts is far bigger than any of us imagine.
It was late afternoon and the sun was slowly setting across the solid blue, desert sky. The call to prayer echoed across the city of a thousand minarets. My blonde-haired 7-year-old looked at me, her deep blue eyes serious. “Is Faiza going to Heaven?”
We were living in Cairo, Egypt and Faiza was our baby sitter extraordinaire. But she was so much more.
She was our informal language teacher, our cultural broker, our friend. And she would iron our clothes just to be kind so that we looked like we stepped out of a dry cleaner’s shop. We had been in Cairo for 3 years and Faiza was an essential part of our lives.
We loved Faiza.
Faiza was a devout Muslim and our children knew this. She prayed five times a day and faithfully fasted during Ramadan. She gave to the poor and cared for those in need. She had even gone on the Hajj to Mecca – something every Muslim is encouraged to do in their lifetime if possible, but for a woman who was a widow and had only the money she made from babysitting this was a huge sacrifice.
Faiza would arrive at our house clad in a long, plain galabeya(traditional Egyptian dress) with her hair completely covered by a white hijab, always carrying with her pita bread and crumbly white cheese known as ‘gibna beda.’ This was her lunch but my kids grew to think of it as their snack. She lived her faith out loud, praying in our living room as soon as she heard the call to prayer from the mosque down the street. She was ever patient and cared for my kids the way she would her own grandchildren. Read the rest here.
2 thoughts on “The Hard Questions at A Life Overseas”
I am frequently asked about the scriptural claim that the only ‘way to the Father’ is through Jesus. And I find that the “Abba” (or ‘abawun’ in Arabic) is a unique expression of “God”–unique to Jesus himself. That is, you don’t find the intimacy of ‘Father’ in this unique manner, in the teachings of other religious traditions. I take that to mean that the Christian tradition offers a specific form of relating to the Divine, which differs from the ways other religious traditions relate to the Divine.
Does this mean the other traditions don’t have access to the Divine? No.
Does it make the Christian traditions the ONLY way to access the Divine? No.
Does it mean that the only way to know the Divine as “Abba” is through Jesus? Yes.
I don’t know if this is helpful, but it sure make sense to me (and has substantial theological backing to support it.)