Parson to Person: I dared to call Him Father
About a month ago I finished reading (and listening to the mp3 download) “I Dared to Call Him Father” by Bilquis Sheikh. Her autobiography was first published in 1978 and has been reprinted with over 300,000 copies sold in several languages and dozens of countries. Her story is inspiring.
Sheikh grew up in a family of ancient royalty. Her ancestors have been leaders on The Great Trunk Road just off the southwestern slopes of the Himalayas for 700 years. She personally had 12 servants on their family estate.
Bilquis came to a place in her life in which she wanted to learn more about Jesus of Nazareth, so she sought out a Bible from her Christian chauffer. As she read the Bible, God gave her dreams of Jesus, and led her to local missionaries who were able to teach her more about Jesus Christ.
One day Bilquis took her grandson for medical treatment. The Catholic nun who was her grandson’s medical doctor noticed that Bilquis was carrying a Bible. Dr. Santiago asked Madame Sheikh, “What are you doing with a Bible?”
“I am earnestly in search of God,” Sheikh replied.
Dr. Santiago leaned closer to Bilquis, took her hand, and with tears streaming down her cheeks said, “Talk to Him as if he were your father.” Of course this is the same teaching in the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus had given his disciples on how to pray.
Sheikh had always had a wonderful relationship with her human father. This piece of advice from Santiago revolutionized her relationship with God.
Bilquis’ newfound faith in Jesus Christ spread like fragrant perfume among all whose lives she touched. She learned to follow God and keep in step with His Holy Spirit.
She, delightfully, describes this pursuit of obeying God and seeking his guidance as “remaining in God’s Presence or Glory.” A friend of mine, equally delightfully, recently labeled this “sparkle.”
One area Madame Sheikh grew in was learning to care for the poor. Another was learning to work with fellow believers who did not have the public platform that she did. As her life was transformed, persecution escalated. This, too, she handled with wisdom and grace.
If you enjoy reading (or listening to) biographies or autobiographies, this classic is worth your time.