The kerosene heater exploded taking the life of the mother of three small children, the close cousin of Charity*. The children, ages 5, 3 and 3 months were divided among the family members and arrangements were made for their mother’s burial. I asked Charity, my devout, 22-year old Muslim language helper, if her cousin would be in paradise. This usually confident young woman quickly responded with an adamant, “No! No one knows if they will be in paradise until they are buried and the angel comes and tallies their good and bad deeds.” No one knows if their works will be good enough to save them. I thought about her response in light of all her good deeds.
Charity prays 5 times a day, gives to the poor, reads the Koran, loves Islam, willingly and faithfully follows every tenant of her faith to the letter of the law. I expected Charity’s level of confidence to be different so I asked her, “What about you, do you know for sure that you will go to paradise when you die?” Sadly, Charity responded with a quiet “No.” Zealously trying to establish her own righteousness apart from Christ, Charity’s uncertainty was revealed. Family began to enter the room and there was not the opportunity to go further into the gospel of hope.
Pray that Charity’s uncertainty will plague her and that she will accept Christ as “the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”