This is a story I found really beautiful that I wanted to share with everyone for long. The protagonist of this story is the person who connects three religions-Christianity, Judaism and Islam. This is a record of an event in the life of Abraham a.k.a Abram a.k.a Avram a.k.a Ibrahim and also fondly referred to as Father Abraham-a man of God.
Father Abraham was a wonderful man who loved God and obeyed him unconditionally and he had one serious and interesting compulsion... Every time he had to have his meal, he could not have it unless he shared it with others. If he had guests, he would share and if he did not, he would find someone, bring them home and sit them at his table and share his meal. This was his practise. One day, Abraham was really hungry and there was neither any guest nor could he find anyone around. He sat at the table and felt very uncomfortable to even start with the food served for him. He got up and left in search of some stranger or perhaps a traveller to bring him to his table as soon as possible to share the food with him.
After a while, Father Abraham realized that everyone was busy and none would come home with him to share the food. He felt sad and prayed to God to show him someone who he could bring home to share the food he had that was already served. Suddenly, he spotted an old vagabond at a distance, a complete stranger, a traveller-and he rushed towards him. After stopping him and explaining everything, he welcomed him home for a meal. The man agreed.
As they sat at the table set before them, the man hurriedly took a piece of food from his plate and was about to have it. Father Abraham stopped him and asked the man to 'say grace' (pray or thank God for the food) before he ate. The man dropped the food back on the plate and said, "I do not believe in God and I do not pray." Father Abraham was stunned and tried to encourage him and said, "How can you not believe in God?! Isn't He the one who gives you food and keeps you alive?! Isn't He the one who gives you all you have and everything else?! How can you not thank Him for what he has done, is doing and will do for you?!" The old stranger calm as ever replied, "I do not believe in God." Father Abraham nudged him one more time and said, "Dear man, what do you lose if you pray?! Just once for my sake say grace before you touch your food." The old vagabond affirmed strongly, "It is my principle that I do not believe in God and this is the thought and the idea I have been living with all my life and I cannot compromise nor change it for a meal. I am sorry." Father Abraham grew furious at this stubborn old man by now and shouted, "WELL THEN, SO BE IT. YOU DON'T DESERVE IT. YOU CANNOT EAT AT MY TABLE."
The poor old man humbly smiled, got up and left to continue with his journey. Meanwhile, Father Abraham brooded over what just happened and could not eat. His heart, mind and soul were troubled and he sank. He prayed and asked God what is wrong with that man he had just met. God replied.
God spoke to Abraham: "Abraham... WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? That man you brought home is 70 years old and not for a single day has he believed in Me. There is not a single meal nor an instance in his life for which he has thanked me. Yet, for all these 70 years, there is not a single day nor a single time that I have not provided for him or left him hungry. All these 70 years I have protected him and taken care of him like a child. All these 70 years, every single time. And, just for once, this day, I trusted him with you, and what have you done...?" Asking this, God disappeared.
Father Abraham was shocked at what God just spoke to him and was ashamed of what he had done. He ran in the path the man had left and soon found him and stopped him. He explained all that had happened after the man had left and pleaded the man to come home with him and join him for the meal and have the meal the way he wanted. The old man's eye filled with tears and for the first time in his life, after all these years, he looked up and thanked God. Father Abraham and the old vagabond that day had the meal thanking God for how wonderful, loving and caring He is no matter how different we are..."
To God be all glory...