Friday, February 28, 2014


Back in high school I took a class in Ancient Civilizations, in which we spent some time studying the world's major religions. Oddly enough, what I remember most is a story that could be described as an Islamic parable. Since it's been so long, I'm quite sure that I have forgotten parts of it, but I remember the message of the story.

A long time ago a wealthy merchant was about to leave for a trip. He tells his wife "I will be home in 7 days." His wife adds "Insh'Allah" (God willing). The merchant sniffs; "God has nothing to do with it. I will be home in 7 days." His wife was worried and fearful at his dismissal of Allah. Years pass and the merchant does not return home. One day, he finally returns home. His shocked wife says "Husband, you are home!" He replies "Insh'Allah, I am home. Wife, you were right." 

The message of the story is that all is dependent on God and His will, which is a concept that we in the West, especially America, do not often hear or want to accept. We focus on what we want, plan to achieve it, and try to do it our own. Seldom do we consider whether it is God's will for us unless we are faced with serious challenges or struggles.

Our first responses to those difficulties tend to be "Why me? That's not what I wanted." The struggle comes in learning to trust God and His plans for us. We don't get an explanation; we must learn to rely on faith alone, to truly surrender and say "As you wish."

(Please note that I have tremendously elided over major theological differences between Christianity and Islam regarding free will and submission for purposes of this post.)

1 comment:

  1. It is such a struggle to trust; and to learn to understand that God's plan won't always make us happy right now, but it will draw us closer to Him.