Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Obedience (01/31/05)
- TITLE: The Day Fatimah Left Home
By Karen Jimmy
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For as long as she could remember, no matter what mistakes she’d made, she’d always been confident and secure in the love of her father. He called her his “Moonbeam”, and was always telling her how proud she made him.
Today was different, though. Today was the first time in all her recollection she’d ever seen her father look away from her in shame. With tears choking her speech she begged him to reconsider his position. Couldn’t they all remain under one roof and share different beliefs? Couldn’t they just go on the way they always had? Her heart felt like it was in a vice, and as she looked at her father she knew his felt the same. But his stubborn will refused him any grace. He could not go back on what he’d decreed, no matter what his heart wanted. She had till sunset to renounce faith in this “Isa”, or be cast out of the family home.
Never one to wilfully disobey, the immensity of this decision tortured her mind. What made the choice so impossible was that she could not deny Jesus- she knew that what she’d found in him was what she’d lacked all her life trying to please Allah. She’d finally found a relationship with a Living entity, a living Person who loved her! Yet she didn’t want to deny her father. Surely disobeying her father was wrong, she was raised to know that. But wasn’t it even more wrong to disobey God?
She knew what she had to do, and yet she was so filled with fear at the prospect of being totally alone. It wasn’t until many tear-stained moments later that she remembered what the Christian missionary had told her just the week before.
“Fatimah, if you choose to follow Christ it will not be easy. You may one day have to leave behind your family. But if it ever comes to that, you are always welcome to stay with us here, and we will pray for your family every day.”
Left with no other choice, Fatimah decided she would leave right away and avoid having to see the devastation on her father’s face for the second time that day. They would know, once they found her gone, what her decision had been. She had no idea what the coming days or even the next few hours would bring, but she knew that her allegiance to God needed to be more important to her than anything or anyone else.
Nearing the home of the missionary, on the outskirts of her small village, she heard his familiar voice coming from one of the windows. She could tell some kind of meeting was in progress, and, not wanting to interrupt, she decided to sit beneath the window and listen. His voice was so soothing and gentle, much like she imagined the voice of Jesus to be. Her eyes peeled wide with wonder as she heard what he was saying. It was as though Jesus himself really were speaking directly to her! He was talking about people who had to leave their father and their mother for his sake. But then he was promising never to leave them, never to abandon them and to always be a help when things were difficult. He was assuring his followers that their reward in heaven for making hard decisions such as this on earth would be great.
Fatimah realised that the missionary must have been reading from the Book then. Suddenly feeling very weary and hungry, she went around to the front door, silently praying that the missionaries would allow her to stay.
Even as she lifted her hand to knock, the missionary’s wife was there, arms enfolding her in an embrace like she’d never known. Unaccustomed to such affection, and suddenly aware of her desperate need of it, Fatimah let go of all the emotion of the day. As the tears spilled out, she heard the woman’s soft voice saying, “Welcome home.”
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