Longing to be true and faithful

Longing to be true and faithful

Over the last weeks, I have been listening to testimonies from sisters who follow Jesus out of Islam. Each time I am drawn back to  the starting point of their journey to foloow Jesus Messiah: their desire to live their faith well, their search for what it is to be faithful to Allah and live that out in ways that were part of their everyday lives.

While their journeys went in different ways, they were persistent in their desires and pursuit of being faithful. One woman described going with her father to meet the Imam at the local mosque in order to find answers to her search. Another spoke of increasing her religious observances and practices to find the answer to her longing. Still, another spoke of reading the Qur’an more with the desire it spoke to her longings.

In the end, they found no answers within Islam that satisfied this deep longing. For some, that meant rejecting all faith when the answers were not where they thought they should be. For others, it was the start of exploring other religions: for some, with the hope they would turn back to find their answers in Islam, and for others, they were willing to try other religions for the answer.

Reading the Bible was key in all of their journeys. They spoke of the Bible making sense, but mostly of the attraction of Jesus, which brought a sense of connection and hope in meeting their longings. For some people, providing a safe place for them as part of this journey to Jesus was important, and today, people who create community, acceptance and security enable many to grow in their relationship with Jesus. The Bible, Jesus, and people were and are critical.

I heard how Jesus showed himself to them as relational and invited them into a relationship so that their questions found answers in a relationship. To be true and faithful is to be in relationship.

What I heard as I listened to them was a challenge and encouragement to relationship, availability, and vulnerability: relationship as a safe space to be and be loved, to share Jesus as the heart of that; availability that was the costly openness to step outside of programmatic engagement and agendas; and vulnerability where I shared the reality of my faith in Jesus lived every day. They were not looking for simplistic answers. They were searching for authenticity in faith.

Here are some questions I am exploring for myself:

  1. How can I create those opportunities to hear women’s heart desires in faith, to hear behind the words to their heart desires?
  2. What does my faith look like to a Muslim friend? How much of relationship with Jesus can she see in me?
  3. Who are my companions in the faith in the Bible that show the reality of Jesus to those who long to be true and faithful?

© When Women Speak … March 2024

CH spent nearly four decades in South Asia and the Middle East working in education, community development and the Church, and has returned as part of Interserve’s International Leadership. A co-founder of the When Women Speak… network, her research has included women’s activism and social change in South Asia, violence against women and missiology. She is currently focussed on developing new streams of ministry among women who live under Islam and enabling women academics and practitioners to shape missiology and mission practice. She holds a PhD in Gender Studies (Australian National University).

1600 1200 When Women Speak

Leave a Reply

Start Typing