I Dared to Call Him Father: Bilquis Sheikh: A good example of dealing with idolatry.

“If opposition to my slowly evolving Christian life was lessening from my family, it was still coming from within me at times. I was yet a very private person, possessive, counting my land and garden my own.

Across the lawn from my house is a road leading to the servants’ quarters. Growing next to this road is a tree called the ber, which has a red fruit similar to the cherry. That summer after the Mitchells left, children from the village (perhaps encouraged by reports of a change in my personal ity) began coming right onto my property to climb the ber and help themselves to its fruit. The intrusion was bad enough, but when their shouts and squeals interrupted my rest time, I leaned out of my window and ordered the gardener to chase the children away. That very day I had the gardener cut the tree down. That would solve the problem permanently!

As soon as the tree was destroyed I realized what I had done. With the tree gone, so was the joy and peace of the Lord’s Presence. For a long time I stood in my window staring at the empty place where it had been. How I wished now that the tree were still there so that I could hear the joyful shouts of the children. I realized what the true Bilquis Sheikh was like. All over again I knew that in my own natural self I would never be different. It was only through the Lord, through His grace, that any change could ever take place.

“Oh Lord,” I said, “let me come back into Your Presence again please!” There was only one thing to do. Scattered throughout my garden were large trees heavy with summer fruit. The very next day I issued an open invitation to the village children to come and enjoy! And they did too. Even though I’m sure they tried to be careful, branches were broken, flowers trod upon.

“I think I see what You’re doing, Lord,” I said one after- noon after the children had gone home, and I was surveying the damage. You found the garden itself to be a place that stood between us. You are weaning me even from the garden! You’ve taken it away to give to others. But look how they were enjoying it! It’s Your garden. I give it up to them with great pleasure. Thank You for using this to bring me back into Your comforting Self.””

Pages 123-124

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