A recent conversation with a friend who is a Muslim left me wondering. As we shared stories of some of our life journeys since we had last seen each other, we both spoke of the importance of our faith in enabling us to walk in pain and loss and still trust God. I was surprised by some of the verses she quoted from the Qur’an:
“…place your trust in Allah. Surely, Allah loves those who place their trust in Him.” (Q. 3:159)
“If Allah helps you, there is none to overcome you. And if He abandons you, then, who is there to help you after that? In Allah the believers should place their trust.” (Q. 3:160)
“…Enough for me is Allah. There is no god but He. In Him I have placed my trust, and He is the Lord of the Great Throne.” (Q. 9:129)
Freedom from fear, she explained, came from a strong sense of trust in God. She went on to explain that she understood she was weak, and it was her trust in God that gave her strength. As my friend described it, getting to know God was important to be able to live this reality of trust and freedom.
Where should I go in this conversation? So much of this resonated with my own journey of faith and learning to lean into God through the storms and the joys. I shared verses from the Bible about trust and God’s strength being made evident in my weakness, about owning vulnerability as part of recognising why God’s call to trust him was so important.
How else might I explore trust in God as part of faith and relationship with God?
I realised that was one area we can talk about further; trust is a relational word and so we could explore how we are in relationship with God. I have now learned enough now not to presume I know what she will say, and so I wonder how our understandings of God making himself known might merge and diverge. The nature of relationship, of knowing and being known, is one that could help us discover more about who God is and what trust in him looks like in our everyday lives.
I know that many teach that God in Islam is impersonal. I am not sure that it is so clear for women that he is impersonal. The question is more one of access and how one accesses the resources and benefits of faith. I think that is something I will also explore with my friend. I want to share more about the intimacy of my relationship with God, leave a longing for even more. My sense, so far, has been that her behaviours and faithfulness in her religious duties means God responds to her. It challenges me to make sure the deep love of my relationship with God is always being nurtured and is evident in how I live and speak of God.
I’ve been reflecting on the many verses that speak of God delighting in me, singing his song of love over me, keeping me as the apple of his eye, being pleased with me. I think I will share some of those as well and speak of the joy of being delighted in.
How would you go forward in such a conversation with a friend? What is it about God that your friends might be drawn to?
(c) When Women Speak … July 2022
CH spent more than three decades in South Asia and the Middle East working in education, community development and the Church. 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).