ATTENTIVENESS: Paying Attention—The God Who Attends To Us by Leighton Ford

Discerning God’s Presence in All Things

Paying Attention—The God Who Attends To Us by Leighton Ford

From The Attentive Life

The story of the Bible is not merely the story of a deity who launched the cosmos and then turned his attention elsewhere.  Quite the contrary: it reveals a God who is mindful, who keeps paying attention, whose mind does not wander!  He is a Father who watches with careful attention.

This is the very nature of God, and a truth that touches the deepest longings of our lives.

Bilquis Sheikh, a Muslim woman, was brought to faith in Christ by coming to know God as a loving Father.  She describes the moment after a long search when this truth seized her imagination: “A breakthrough of hope flooded me.  Suppose God were like a father?  If my Earthly father would put aside everything to listen to me, why wouldn’t my Heavenly Father do the same?”

She went to her knees and reached over to a bedside table where she kept both the Bible and the Qur’an.  Lifting them, one in each hand, she prayed: “‘Which, Father?  Which one is your book?’  And then a remarkable thing happened.  I heard a voice inside my being, a voice full of kindness, yet at the same time full of authority.  And the voice said, ‘In which book do you meet me as your Father?’  ‘In the Bible.’  That’s all it took.”

The Qur’an that Muslims read uses many respectful terms to speak of the greatness of God.  But it has no name for God as Father.  For the devout Muslim to associate God with human beings in an intimate and personal way is to commit the sin of “shirk” – of associating God with what is not God.  Yet a friend in Cairo has told me that his Muslim friends are deeply touched when he promises to pray to God for their needs – the Father who, as Bilquis Sheikh wrote, would “put aside everything to listen to me.”

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