Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Atheist to a believer

It's been quiet some time since I have been in this new relationship. A relation which has made me realize how precious my life is. I am in a relation with Christ. When a friend of mine asked me to share my testimony, I was in a double mind for a. It is kind of unbelievable. At least, it was for me! b. I wanted it to be my secret. But then I realized that, Jesus touches people in different ways and me sharing the stories of how I was saved, is just another way, in which he is going to touch people. My mother is a Hindu while my father is an atheist. My mother, grandparents and other relatives did their best imparting the knowledge about Hinduism to me. But the knowledge they shared, was never enough for me. I had questions. Questions about everything. Simple questions like why the folded hands? Why in front of a stone? Why is the idol so dangerous looking? Why so much of wastage and sacrifices all for a piece of stone which sometime ago lay in the guttur until someone decided to carve it and give it a human shape. My questions never seized, but the answers did. When the elders did not have answers, they told me to simply shut up and pay respect. I could never and that was when I turned an atheist. I chose to be married into the best Hindu Goan family whose house was often visited by the learned Brahmins. As a new bride, my every visit to Goa was to tour a thousand temples my in-laws chose. And after a year, I put my foot down telling them, if they answer my questions, I will believe in the God they so fear. I began challenging the Brahmans who visited the house. Simple questions again. Questions like what was the meaning of line you recited in Sanskrit? Why tie a thread around your wrist. Why is the picture of a dangerous looking lady in the prayer room sacred while the image of the same lady on a wedding card is thrown in the dustbin? Why no slippers? Why no worshiping without bathing or, if you are menstruating? If cows who happily poop around while munching their food allowed in the temple premises, why are dogs on the other hand shooed away? You worship snakes and you kill them too! Where eating beef is strictly prohibited, wearing leather is a style statement. But even the so called learned Brahamans had no answers to my questions. I was happy making fun of such people who feared God and lived with no curiosity to know who God actually was and why they did things they did. I was not ready to accept a playboy Krishna as my God, nor a husband like Ram who did not trust his wife as my God. Nor was Shiva the druggy who slaughtered a young boy (Ganesha) good enough for me to pay respect to. 

My God had to be a role model. Someone who was good from inside and outside. Someone who everyone loved more than they feared. Someone who will live for me, sacrifice for me, Someone who I could go to with slippers or, without; bathing or untidy; menstruating or, not. And that someone was my father. My father was my role model, who comforted me and forgave my every mistake. And this, I proudly sported around. When people asked me which religion I belonged to, I would tell them the religion where my father is the God, I belong to that. I was telling this one day to a guy as old as my father after which, impressed he said, "it is good that your father and you have such a good relation, but who does he have? If he is your God, who is his? " I was back at point zero. I was in a new formed religion, where others had questions to which I had no answers. And then I saw my father fall. The healthiest man I have know lay there on a hospital bed fragile. And the questions which got planted in my mind in 2006 kept resonating in a corner and I knew, that my father was not God. From an atheist, I turned an agnostic who was ready to believe there is a God. But this God had to compete with my father. God had to show he loved me more than my father did. God had to be more powerful than my father. 

I have been blessed to have a good life and never had the need to hunt God. It is said, that even before you are conceived in the womb of your mother, God has made plans for you. And a plan for me was in place as well. God called me himself. I met a guy who within a couple of months of knowing, began talking to me about the Bible. He spent hours talking on it, while I spent equal hours rubbishing it. His knowledge of the Bible was vast and I took up to reading the Bible to challenge his every word. But the Bible only got me angry. Mainly for two reasons. 
1. I could not understand a word of it.
2. I still could not argue better than him. 
 
Bible was irritating since, the one I had to argue with, was the one who was explaining it. I once decided that, I am going to read the bible like a story book irrespective of understanding it or, not. And I read it like I have read no book ever. My every waking moment was with the Bible. I was in the loo with the Bible, In traffic I would use my phone to read the Bible, I spent long nights reading the bible. I would read it while eating. I was glued to the Bible and not a single word of it made sense to me until, I read, John 2:27 But the anointing that you have received from him abides in you, and you do not need any man to teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you all things and is truth, and is no lie; and even as it has taught you, abide in him.

I read that verse many a times and while I read it for one last time before shutting the Bible for the day, I said it out load. If you are the teacher, then come teach me so I may understand. And from that day onward, every night from 1 am to 3.30 am, the Bible played in front of me as I lay asleep on my bed. The old testament was like a nightmare but luckily it did not make me wake up screaming. Initially I thought, it was because I was spending way too much time reading the Bible, but being an avid reader, I have been with books. None of them as powerful to play before me. Scared, I tried putting the Bible down but could not give up reading it. I manged to slow it down, limiting it to reading it in the loo alone. Yet the dreams went on. Night after night exactly from 1 to 3:30 am.  I knew I had a broken sleep, yet I woke up fresh and so refreshed. In April this year, a friend of mine visited us and we celebrated the occasion getting wasted on Tequila. After some 6 shots down, I began talking to him about the Bible. I told him the entire story of Mosses and Noah and that was the day, I went down of my knees for the very first time. I do not remember what I prayed but, since that day, I have never been able to touch alcohol. Not that I was a drinker but that day something from inside changed. To test the change, I visited my favorite breweries and pubs but even the most beautiful cocktail, tranquilizing music and the company of friends could not get me the desire to drink. I felt a peace from within. I used to drink not because I liked to, but to be a sport among my friends. I soon realized, that it did not matter who people think I am anymore. That night as I lay down, ready for another episode of what today will show me, I prayed saying, Jesus, if this is you, then reveal yourself to me. Show me that it indeed is you and not my insanity. That night, instead of the play, a man sat by my bedside taking to me. By the time I woke up, I had no clue what we had spoken, but I knew, God had revealed himself to me and I also knew, that my Bible lessons were over. After that day, when I took up the Bible, words automatically began making sense. I began attending Church regularly and realized there is nothing better to do on a Sunday than to worship Christ in fellowship with other believers. In Church I realized, praying and spending time with God was a very important thing. And while, I was wondering how to pray, I read Romans 8:26 -- "Likewise the spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought." Placing my hand on the scriptures, I said, "Father teach me how to pray so I may spend more time with you." That day, I prayed for an hour and more, not understanding a single word of what I prayed. The prayer was tiring. I wanted to stop and yet, could not. I spoke in a language I had never heard before. The next Sunday in Church I heard the pastor on stage pray in a foreign language. I began noticing people around me pray in various foreign languages and suddenly like a magical answer to my unspoken question, I remembered the verse, "Likewise the spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought." 

After my child's birth, I began developing problems in my wrist. My wrist was loosing its grip. I could not hold a tooth brush or, pencil. A comb. I had to stop driving because I could not accelerate or, grip the steering wheel. I used to work for a month and go on leave for the next month and be heavily drugged on pain killers. I could give up driving, quit my job or, cut my hair short to avoid combing but the worst was the pain I had to bear to hold my infant or, to feed him. These were the two things I could not give up at any cost. The most joyous feeling a women gets is while feeding her child or, holding her baby in her arms and that very best thing was the very painful thing for me. But Jesus did what no medical science could do for me. When a friend of mine saw this condition of mine, he told me, he is going to go on a fasting prayer for me and I will be healed. As a non believer, all I could do was to thank him and say, "I hope your faith works" That evening, at around 5 he called me asked, "Your hand is good isn't it?" It was only then did I realize that all the power my hand and wrist has lost had been restored. Since then, I have never had to be on any pain killers for my hand. 

My God is a miracle performing God who answers prayers. Who is ready to work in your life if you are willing to open the door of your heart to him. I encourage you to pick up a Bible and with a sincere heart, welcome him into your life. For his dwelling is lovely and a day in his court is better than a thousand outside. 

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