Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: QUESTION (S) (05/30/19)
- TITLE: The Biggest Question of All
By Bonnie Bowden
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The crack of my father’s rough palm burned my brown skin; its blunt force threw me against the wall. “You must never question me again, Fazia. Do you understand?”
I licked the metallic taste from my mouth and ran to my room.
There was a knock on my door.“Come in,” I said.
My mother walked in and went straight to my bed. “Your father is right, she said, “you are a girl and a girl’s place is at home. You must be devoted to family and Islam. Your older brother will be a man someday. It is different for him.”
After my mother left, I lay on my pillow and sobbed. Spasms racked my body.
The sun sank beneath the horizon. I completed my ritual washing, pulled out my mat, pointed it towards Mecca, and began my prayers. Truthfully, I knew little of what I was saying. The Qur’an and the words I spoke were in Arabic. Still I could tell my parents were proud of me.
The next day, I got up, dressed, put on my backpack, and left for my nine-block walk to middle school.
History class. Math class. Lunch. I opened my bag. I had few friends, so I usually ate alone.
Suddenly, a tall, athletic girl came over to my table. Is anyone sitting here?
“No, help yourself.”
“Thank you. By the way my name’s Emily.”
She bowed her head.“Father, thank You so much for this food. Help me make friends here. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
I was baffled. She talked to God like He was a real person. Straight from the heart.
As I walked in the door after school, my mother was waiting for me. “Your brother told me he saw you talking to a boy today.”
“He was mistaken.”
“Dalir, does not lie.” With a jerking lunge, she pushed me to the floor, skinning my knees and scrapping my elbows. “Now get out of my sight.”
Later my brother came to my room. “Just remember. They believe everything I tell them.”
The clock ticked down the hours, but I couldn’t sleep. I was sick of staying quiet. I was sick of the beatings. I wanted someone who would listen and hear my cries. I wanted answers.
Why did Jesus die? What is the cross? Was Jesus just a prophet? How could a man be God? How could Jesus love me? Which book was right, the Qur'an or the Bible?
I looked toward heaven and said, “God, if you’re real—please show yourself to me. I don’t care if you’re Allah or Jesus. Just show me truth.”
I knew the cost and wouldn’t look back.
"You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."--John 8:32 (ERV)
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