Here is something that got me thinking during the weekend. My neighbor, is a Christian (protestant) who tragically lost her husband in January this year. Since then, she has been working hard at an average-paying job to support her children and herself. Despite the odds, she has been bravely carrying on, tying up the numerous loose ends, sending her children to high school and college, paying rent etc... People familiar with residency rules in the Arabian Gulf states will know that it is extremely hard for an Asian non-Muslim expat woman and her children to live here without the husband sponsoring the family. Hence I had assumed that she would be packing up and leaving the country for good as she wouldn’t be able to stay here with children as legal residents.
Now, during these months following her bereavement, she has almost unbelievably taken over the reins of her family. Almost magically, God seems to be working in unbelievable ways, clearing legal hurdles, helping her children through the exams, securing a job for her elder son in these hard times…etc. Things slowly seem to be falling in place for them after all the agony and grief in losing their dear one. However, rather than drown in self-pity or drift with the tide, she seems to be guided by God in leading the family on the road ahead. She always has a word of prayer and encouragement whenever I meet her at the gate. I tend to realize that such peace and calmness in the face of tribulations comes from being firmly grounded in the Lord, having courage to make hard choices, faithfully persevering through hardship, knowing fully well that He will not let go of us if we seek Him constantly. Such instances tend to awaken us from our complacent, judgmental and self-righteous tendencies while interacting with people from faiths somewhat different from our own. I am inclined to ask why some people (myself included) waste time and resources arguing about peripheral issues when so much can be learned from just watching certain people respond to trials that life throws at them.
Consider the story of the prostitute woman who was on the verge of being stoned to death. Our Lord asks him who has never sinned to cast the first stone. When we make note of how we neglect our prayer life, how much our equation with God leaves undesired, how we take His blessings for granted, that’s when we realize how less we have traveled and learned in our journey of faith.