After a while I said, “I have a question for you, Felmir, and I especially like to ask this question to people I meet because of my job: If you could ask God one question about life or Himself, what would it be?” He paused and then said, “S***, man…that’s a hard question.” I told him to think about it and next time I came by he could tell me. But within a minute or two he told me, “I would ask God, ‘Why there is so much pain in the world–why do bad things happen to good people?’” I agreed that this was a good question. Soon the conversation shifted to another topic. He and I had both gotten married recently so we talked about marriage and love. I asked him, “What do you think the definition of love is?”
He said, “You can’t explain it.”
I said, “Most people would describe love as a feeling, but that’s not quite right. Love is when you’re willing to sacrifice for someone, when you are willing to go through pain or to die for someone, or even just do something you don’t feel like doing for them.”
He said slowly, “I think that’s right.”
Then I said, “I think that might be a small part of the answer to your question of why God allows pain in this world. In some weird way, pain makes real love possible.” After this some other topics of conversation came and went, but we found our way back to spiritual things once again. He said that he was a Muslim and told me what he thought of Jesus.
He said, “Jews think he was an ordinary teacher, we think he was a prophet, and you think he was God in human form, is that right?”
I said, “Yes, we believe God came to earth to show his love for us.” I then tried to connect this with our previous talk. I said, “God came to suffer and die for us because, as we said before, this is the true sign of love.” I couldn’t tell if this made sense to Felmir. I hope to see him again soon so that we can talk once again about the truth.
By Shahob Salem in NYC
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