Hiding in the Light: A Review

Rifqa Bary’s memoir Hiding in the Light (a New York Times Bestseller) chronicles her teenage conversion to Christianity from Islam. It’s a poignant tribute to the power of God and to the power of Christian testimony. Bary, as a young child, emigrated from Sri Lanka to the United States with her family. Before leaving Sri Lanka, Bary suffered a permanent loss of vision in one eye. Furthermore, in her memoir she details the impact of sexual abuse from a relative. After losing her vision and her “honor” because of the sexual abuse, she felt little love from her family. When she and her family moved to New York City, she developed a curiosity about Christian prayer and the use of the word “Amen.” From a young age, she sensed the presence of God in her life, knowing that He was always there. After 9/11, practicing Islam was not easy in New York City. Her family then located to Ohio, near Columbus. While in middle school, she was introduced to Christianity. She began to have a relationship  with Jesus Christ, later accepting Him as her savior. She was baptized years later, unbeknownst to her family. After hiding her conversion for many years, her family was informed of her Christian activities. Bary states that her father threatened to kill her (“honor killing”) if she did not renounce Christianity. Renunciation was not an option. While running away during the night, Bary with the help of Christian acquaintances absconded to Florida. Weeks later, a media frenzy surrounded her escape as the alleged threat to kill her became known. Her dependency/ criminal case (it’s against the law for a minor to run away) as well as her illegal immigration status received international coverage that pitted Christians against Muslims. Bary, seventeen years of age, was placed in foster care and moved from home to home for security reasons. In the end,  when Bary turned eighteen, she was allowed to become free from her parents. She received her Green Card, allowing her to legally stay in the United States (she is currently on the path to citizenship by her twenty-third birthday next month). At no time did Bary’s family admit any of the allegations against them.

Bary’s courage in the face of both adversity and danger is deeply moving. Although she was afraid, fear did not immobilize her. Bary desired to know the love of God and His providence in spite of the danger of turning toward Christianity. Through every step of her relationship with Christ, God led her to safety. Meeting all the God ordained people helped Bary survive crisis after crisis. She never lost her faith in Jesus. Prayer  and Bible study became the most effective tools to get her through all of the difficulties that lay ahead. The hand of God was upon her from the beginning of her questioning of Islam and throughout her conversion and later ordeal. She realized that the Lord orders the steps of a righteous man or woman (Psalm 37:23). Moreover, God did not give her a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).image

This memoir is respectful to Muslims and it appears to be authentic. Bary never maligns Muslims; she, however, boldly states her position about the potency of Christ. From my own personal relationship with the Lord, I know that God works everything out according to the counsel of His own will ( Ephesians 1:11). Some agnostics or atheists may question the authenticity of this memoir, but my visceral response says it’s true. God loves His children, and he sometimes takes us to the brink before deliverance comes. Why would someone risk her life for a lie? Why would someone give up her family and her culture for a lie?

This memoir brought tears to my eyes. Seeing a steadfast Christian woman who made a life changing decision knowing the longterm consequences of family alienation makes me have a stronger commitment to Christ. Many of us come from a country in which we have religious freedom. We suffer little if any Christian persecution, yet we are afraid to share our faith. Most of us never will endure trauma and adversity like that of Bary’s. This memoir makes me desire a greater prayer life, and to be used to a greater degree.

Currently, Bary is in hiding, and has no contact with her biological family. She has forgiven her family, and continues to allow God to use her. God has restored her in manifold ways. She truly knows no weapon formed against her shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17). I pray that you read her book, and that it will have an impact on your life. Amen!!

For Personal Study: Read Romans 10. God bless you.

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Andraé Crouch’s Jesus is the Answer

Jesus is the Answer

by Andraé Crouch

Chorus

Jesus is the answer, for the world today,
Above Him there’s no other,
Jesus is the way.3x
Verse One:
If you have some questions
In the corners of your mind,
Traces of discouragement,
The peace you cannot find,
Reflections of your past,
Seem to face you everyday,
But this one thing I do know,
That Jesus is the way.

Verse Two:
I know you’ve got mountains,
That you think you cannot climb,
I know your skies are dark,
You think the sun won’t shine,
But in case you don’t know,
That the word of God is true,
Everything he’s promised,
He will do it for you.
Chorus:
Jesus is the Answer, for the world today,
Above Him there’s no other,
Jesus is the way.3x

********************************************************************

Once again, no words can express the horrific violence in our country. People are hurting deeply in so many ways. Families need our support. We as both educators and parents need to regularly take time out to have discussions with our children about race matters. If we do not teach our children to love, who will? Violence is never the answer. Jesus Christ is THE ANSWER. When I was a young child, “Jesus is the Answer” was one of my favorite songs. It still is today! I have it on my playlist and it ministers to my soul whenever I play it. Although Andraé Crouch is no longer with us, his music still lives in my heart. How can we let people know that JESUS is the answer? What are some scriptures that we can use to generate excitement about Christ? Many people get excited about sports, and about celebrities; why not encourage people to get excited about Christ! The Queen of Sheba can be our template for gauging excitement about Jesus, our King!

When the Queen of Sheba met Solomon, she questioned him thoroughly to see if everything she heard about him was true. Then, she exclaimed that everything that she heard about his wisdom and achievements was indeed true. She did not believe it until she saw his splendor and wisdom with her own eyes. Furthermore, she says that what she now sees is far above what she was told. Further opining, the Queen of Sheba says to Solomon that it is a privilege for his officials to listen to him daily. She then blessed him abundantly with gold, spices, and precious jewels. He in turn blessed her with gifts of greater value that what she had given him. Like the Queen of Sheba,  let’s talk about Jesus, the King of Kings, the way the Queen talked about King Solomon (2 Chronicles 9: 1-12). Let’s talk to others about the wisdom of God, His many blessings, and His acts of kindness. It is a privilege to sit at Jesus’ feet to learn from Him. Watch and see the blessings (in many forms) that will follow as a result of blessing Christ through sharing his word.  Moreover, let’s pray that we will have a fresh encounter with Jesus Christ, that He will open the eyes of our hearts ( Ephesians 1:18) so that we “Will know Him in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering.”(Philippians 3:20).

Let’s Pray: Jesus we praise you for your boundless mercies, for we thank you that they are new every morning. We thank you for your faithfulness. You are the lily of our valleys, and we will praise you forevermore. Lord, please help us to develop an intimate relationship with you. Please help us to keep our minds stayed on you so that you will keep us in perfect peace. We need you now more than ever. We ask that you comfort the families that have lost loved ones. We ask that you heal their minds and their hearts, and that you bring us all together as one. There is nothing too hard for you. We know that you have a plan for all of our lives, a plan to give us a hope and a future. We cast ALL of our cares upon you because you care for us. We ask that we open our mouths to encourage people to believe in you. Open the eyes of our hearts so that we see the far exceeding riches of your glory. You are the answer for the world today. Above you there’s no other, for you are the way. We thank you and we praise you in advance for all the blessings to come. In Jesus’ name we pray with thanksgiving  always. Amen.

For reflection and encouragement, please read Matthew 6:19-34.

Do you have a favorite Christian song? Please share it. God bless you.

Here is a link to another favorite.

http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/a/andrae_crouch/take_me_back.html