Malika I sought the truth for many days And wandered many long and traceless paths In search of what I could not name, Until I stumbling came at last Down on my knees And there I turned and looked And there He stood The Truth, that haunting all my ways Had chased me hard through all my days And only waited for my hand To reach and hold His own. (c) Yolanda Lichty 2021
I wrote this poem for Malika, a beautiful middle-aged Moroccan woman I first met on a blustery evening in Toronto. My friend Katelyn gave her a tract, and Malika asked for our numbers.
Katelyn and I came back to Toronto to visit her occasionally. In the noise of the Eaton Centre food court, my friend and I discussed Islam and Christianity with Malika. She was a devout Muslim, a teacher of her faith who memorized the Koran and sought to do what she believed was right.
Then life happened. I went away to college. While I continued to pray for Malika, we mostly lost touch. After reading a book of true stories describing how Muslims are coming to Christianity in closed countries, I remember praying specifically that God would speak to my friend in a dream as He had to many other Muslims. I prayed this once or twice. That’s all.
Then, around Christmas 2020, Malika contacted me to ask if she could see me. Due to Covid restrictions, I told her it wouldn’t be possible, but that I would love to get in touch as soon as was possible. Early in 2021, she contacted me again, saying she wanted to talk to me more about Christianity. We exchanged voice messages and eventually video called, and she told me the delightful news.
She believed Jesus was the Son of God, the Saviour of the world.
She had been given a dream. Jesus came to her all radiant with light, and she saw the scars in His hands. Through her broken English, I couldn’t understand it all, but her joy bubbled to me across the phone line.
“I have so much peace. I am so happy. It is all beautiful, and I wanted to tell you, because you were the first person I met that was a Christian. I remembered from when I first met you that you had so much peace.”
She went on to say that the one time I had bought a meal for a man who was begging had stayed with her in her mind. In her culture, it’s shameful to beg. I had forgotten I’d ever done it. Somehow, in this broken, imperfect human she had seen the face of God.
For a time, we met Sundays via video chat and studied the English Bible until I found an online Arabic Bible. With her return to the Middle East, and the difference in time zones, our meetings no longer worked well. I pray that God will give her a solid believer to worship with.
Even writing this now, tears come to my eyes. I did so little for Malika. There’s so much more I should have done. I didn’t pray as often as I should have, yet God used even these fragments.
He’s doing the same with you. The little things you do now in secret speak louder than you will ever know. The smile you give a stranger shines Jesus. The extra minute you take with a child or grandmother or cashier communicates the love of Christ.
Perhaps, there’s a person God’s calling you to love that demands your time, that requires so much of you and gives so little back. You may never see the fruit of your actions, as I did with Malika; but God is growing them.
Malika’s joyful news came in a season of deep discouragement for me. In that season, it felt like I could do so little to fix the problems around me. God seemed silent, and I was sick of waiting on His time. Malika’s story reminded me that God’s still working in the world.
I wrote this poem for Malika, but now I know that it was I who needed it all along.
Malika I sought the truth for many days And wandered many long and traceless paths In search of what I could not name, Until I stumbling came at last Down on my knees And there I turned and looked And there He stood The Truth, that haunting all my ways Had chased me hard through all my days And only waited for my hand To reach and hold His own.