Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Relationships with Dads

"Pray like this: Our Father in heaven…" Matthew 6:9a

We hear affectionate talk about the relationships our Muslim friends have with their moms but less frequently with their dads. 

It was interesting listening to Abeer describe her good relationship with her dad.  They had a strong intellectual affinity with each other. 

Haneen didn’t really know her dad. He drank too much and finally abandoned the family when she was young.

When Shukria was a child her dad engaged in inappropriate sexual activity with her.

Habiba adored her dad. She was his little princess. But one day he disappeared. His body was eventually found. He had been tortured and killed. Her grieving has never closed up.

Amina, a Kurdish 6 year old frightened girl, was used unsuccessfully as a human shield in the front doorway to protect her invalid dad from a home invasion by the police.

Fatima’s dad was usually absent from home because of business that demanded frequent travel. Only when he retired from business did he settle back at home but by that time she was an adult. He remains mostly a stranger to Fatima.

Ayaan, like many other Muslim girls, is aware that her dad divides his time with a second or third wife who have given birth to other half-brothers and sisters scattered in other countries. She vaguely fits in somewhere in the big scheme of family life. Mom is the rock that holds her life together.

Farahea witnessed her dad’s womanizing as he enjoyed his high position in the government of her homeland. It has left her with a gnawing fear that her husband will stray to the arms of other women.

Bushra does not have any clear memories of her dad.  He remained in the home country while she and her mom and siblings came to Canada. He requests her to send him money. Even though she is on welfare she sends what she can from time to time.
Then there is Joy….me. I grew up knowing that I was loved and wanted. Dad was charismatic, enthusiastic, and strong in the faith. He did great exploits for God. Even though he is no longer on this earth his influence remains in my life. Thank you, dad!

One thing we and our Muslim friends have in common is that we each have a dad. All of the above examples of Muslim women(with pseudonym names)and the relationships they had with their dads continue to affect them today. It also affects how they view God. One of the issues a new believer encounters is hearing Christians address God as Father. It sounds strange to them and usually takes some time to talk to God as heavenly Father, as revealed so well in Bilquis Sheikh’s book, I Dared To Call Him Father. Father’s Day is a great time to talk about our dads and introduce the concept of God as our heavenly Father. Sometimes I have discovered some hidden away hurt or bitterness in my friends’ lives which I have tried to speak into gently. A personal testimony of forgiveness has often proven powerful.

Dear heavenly Father, I love being your child. Help me to effectively communicate this precious relationship with You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.