By Rob Furlong
Bilquis Sheikh was born into a wealthy Pakistani family and although a Muslim, for the first forty-six years of her life, she neither embraced nor rejected her religious heritage.
This all changed when her marriage to a senior Pakistani Government minister collapsed. The divorce by her husband ignited a longing within her for spiritual truth and she quite naturally began with her Muslim faith.
Reading through the Koran she discovered it mentioned the prophet Jesus several times which led to her reading the New Testament to learn more about Him.
As she read both these books side by side, she noticed that she experienced a great sense of peace whenever she read the New Testament.
One day she confided with a Christian doctor about her search for God who suggested she speak to God as if she were talking to her father.
This was a revolutionary thought for her because in her reading of the Koran she had never found God portrayed in this way. However, Bilquis’ memories of her father were of a loving man who always had time for her, so to speak to God as if He were her father was not difficult.
But what she discovered astounded her!
Kneeling alone in prayer, she held out before her both the Koran and the Bible and very sincerely prayed, “Which book Father? Which book should I believe?”
Almost immediately she heard God speak the following words clearly and directly to her heart:
“In which book do you find me as Father?”
The discovery of God as a loving, personal Father radically changed her life and led her to put her trust in Christ as Lord and Saviour.
That God loves us as a Father is a deeply intimate and profound truth which cuts right into the core of our being and tells us that we are loved and treasured for who we are.
For some of us, the idea of calling God “Father” brings up some very negative connotations because our experience of our earthly fathers has been so poor and in some cases, devastatingly so.
“God is my Father? Well, if He is anything like my father was, then I don’t want to have anything to do with Him!”
It’s an understandable response but I want to encourage you very sincerely as you read this – please don’t judge your Heavenly Father solely by your earthly father.
A year ago I read some really helpful advice about this and it has the potential to be quite life changing. The author said:
“The thought that our Maker can also be our perfect parent is a thought that can have meaning for everybody, whether we come to it by saying, ‘I had a wonderful father, and I see God is like that’ or by saying, ‘My father disappointed me here, and here, and here, but God, praise His name, will be very different,’ or even by saying, ‘I have never known what it is to have a father on earth, but thank God I now have one in heaven.’”
Without in any way minimizing the negative experiences some of us have had with our earthly fathers, the author’s point remains true – God is the Perfect Father and we rob ourselves of much joy if we judge Him by those experiences.
Jesus once told the story of a son who took his father’s inheritance and frittered it away recklessly before hitting rock bottom.
When he finally came to his senses, he returned home to his father.
He went back, asking to be treated as a hired servant but what he received was completely unexpected.
He found a father who was waiting for him, who forgave him and poured out his love on him.
The father in the story represents God and He is waiting for you.
Why not head home to Him today?
Experiencing the perfect father
By Rob Furlong