Finding Faith: Getting Lost in Strange Places
Written by: Chereen
This is the first part of a Ramadan series focused on helping you find faith in adversities, trials, and unexpected situations.
It was night time, and I was lost while trying to walk home. Luckily, I was not alone. I had a friend, a phone to use to make calls and send texts, and GPS on my phone. However, my much wiser and older friend decided we would not be touching our phones. She insisted we would find our way. I quickly panicked. As a child of the technological generation, I needed my phone to get around. I desperately wanted to call someone to come pick us up. Getting lost was not something I enjoyed. Like everyone else, I wanted to be found and remain found.
But our phones remained untouched as we navigated our way through faith in God. Whenever I would get nervous, she would gently say, “Tawakkul, Chereen. We will get there by the will of God.” I trusted her, and I trusted God, but I realized that I was not on that level of certainty. I enjoyed having a sense of control over my journey. It made me feel strong. Without control, I felt inferior.
I took a deep breath and followed my friend as she remembered certain landmarks and pathways that we crossed on our way to our destination earlier that night. We were in a new country that was not so familiar, making being lost even tougher than it should have been. Every once in a while she would remind me of tawakkul, and she would tell me to have faith. At one point, I asked her if we could just use our phones. She looked at me with a smile and said, “Would you rather let your phone help you? Wouldn’t you like to have God lead the way?” I could not argue with her. I put my phone away and did not touch it again.
As I looked around nervously, I saw that we were next to a mosque. I had passed this road many times, but I had never noticed the mosque. Relying on transportation and navigation had me focusing on other things like my phone and simply getting to my destination on time. I sat down and enjoyed the glowing mosque. It was beautiful, and it was so unfortunate that I did not recognize it before. Next to it was a tiny convenience store (dukkaneh in Arabic), where children walked out with ice cream and smiles on their faces. The place was full of life, and it would not have been noticed if I chose to use my phone.
After a few hours of walking and searching, we made it home. I was excited to reach home, and so proud of myself for not using technology to help me get there. It was not easy on me, but it taught me a lot about self-reliance. I realized that my friend’s goal was not about having us get lost and find our way. It was deeper than that. It was about finding faith in God in stressful and helpless situations. If there’s a God, then there is a way. She wanted to teach me about tawakkul, and she wanted me to understand that it is okay to get lost. Sometimes, when you are lost, you find more than what you were searching for. You discover things you never would have found before, and you realize that you can depend on yourself far more than you initially thought.
After that night, I became okay with getting lost. There was beauty in it, and it came with a lot of appreciation once I found the way. Because of this experience, I was able to become closer to God. I found faith in Him, and He did not let me down. Rather than a quick trip, it became an experience filled with reflection and wisdom. I came home with all my groceries, but I also came home with a heart full of appreciation for God. I found faith by getting lost in strange places, and I realized that nothing is as strange when you have tawakkul leading the way. Everything becomes familiar when you have God by your side.