He sat across from me. His son was doing graduate work at the university. He came to the United States to visit his son and he wanted to talk to me. His son was actively involved in our church even though he did not give up his Muslim faith. He was interested in learning about Christianity. He was well liked and respected in our church and the wider community. His father wanted to meet me because his son had talked so much about our church. His father brought me a book of poetry from a famous poet in his country. We talked about religion, God, and religious freedom. This he did not have in his country so even though he was interested in Christianity he was not able to investigate it. As we talked, I was aware that both of us had very similar religious hopes and convictions. We were both seeking the same will of God for our lives, it seemed. Our religious desires were one. We shared a common faith and belief in God. He was a Muslim and I was a Christian. Yet, it was clear that we shared a common religious bond.
I know that if we got down to discussing particulars there would have been many differences. I know that some Christians believe Muslims pray to a different God than they do. I know Muslims and Christians share a history of violence in many parts of the world. I know all of this and more. Yet, that one afternoon I remember thinking we are two individuals seeking after God. There is more that unites us than divides us and God can figure that out.
Today he would not be able to visit me in my office. His son is worried about being deported as he continues his studies here in America. Our president has said no more refugees from his country are permitted to come to America. Temporarily, visas needed to come to America are being held up, too. It is not supposed to be permanent but we all know how these things go.
I am very fortunate to have had these few hours with a man my age who had children and a wife he loved and was seeking after God as I was. As he prays for me, I will pray for him and his family.