My testimony about my life with Jesus and God
When I was growing up, it was always natural for me to believe in God. For example, before anyone mentioned the concept to me, if I was walking home from elementary school and swore, Iíd always instinctively look up and apologise to God for my cursing. It is like if you were to stop one day and contemplate on the fact that you are breathing. I donít think people do that. It is a simple fact and you do not even think about it. That is how it was for me when I was young. One day, when I was around seven, my mom came to me and said that, if I ever want to go to church I can but she never will and is not interested. She said this in a somewhat mad tone. That is the first time I ever heard someone mention anything relating to God or the subject. It seemed quite odd to me and I was surprised to hear this from my mom. Then I realised that not everyone perceived God as I did.
The first time I prayed was when I was building a model aeroplane. I used to build models regularly as a kid and this one was fairly complicated. But, as I was near the final stages, I dropped one of the three wheels; one of the two in the front. I realised that I needed to find the wheel (with leg) because the model simply would not stand up on its own and my entire ordeal spent on building the model would have been in vain. This fairly annoyed me and I spent a significant amount of time looking for the wheel.
But the carpet was long and thick shag, light bluish in colour. The wheel was plastic and grey, so it would have been hard to find. It was a fairly small piece.
Eventually, I gave up, stood with my back leaning against the window sill and stared down at the carpet analysing the situation. That is when it occurred to me to ask God.
I kind of apologised, understanding that he is probably pretty busy with dealing with the entire world and all, but this was simply important to me and asked him if he could possible find the time and help me.
Nothing seemed to happen. Not knowing what to do, I simply let myself fall down to my knees, leaned forward till I dropped down further to my elbows, then let my hands fall down in front of me. I separated the shag carpet where my fingers first landed, and there, right in the middle of the shags I had separated, laid the wheel.
That was my first prayer.
Another time, I was sitting on the grass in front of our apartment building, contemplating about things when the thought came to me, "Well, if that is the case [I think I was reflecting on my life that I was lucky and perhaps protected by God or something] then, if I look down for example in this directionÖ". That is when I leaned down, once again on my elbow, and where my fingers landed was indeed a four leaf clover. So I thought, "Well, if that is the case, then if I lean over HERE." I then pivoted around on my waist to my left a little bit behind me, another random direction, got down on my left elbow and the same happened. "Hmph!" I thought. So I thought Iíd test this a bit further. I thought, "Well, if THAT is the case, then for two weeks, every time I call an elevator, I should be able to guess which of the two elevators in front of me would be the one to come first after I pressed the button." This indeed did happen for two weeks and, these three things combined was enough to convince me that I am lucky and that God is watching over me.
There was another time when I was at a camp and there was a guy who was always picking on me. It was getting quite unbearable so, one night as I was falling asleep, I prayed to God that he would somehow get that guy to stop bugging me.
Within a few days, or maybe immediately, I got sick. It was the middle of summer and, for some reason, I got sick. I developed a very high fever and I was groaning etc. and they put me in the hospital bed. I do not remember being in such pain. Everything was sort of blurry. But one thing I do remember clearly: my bunk house came to visit me one day in the peak of my fever. I guess the bunk house leader suggested this. They came over to cheer me up. I remember very clearly though how that guy was also there and how he looked very sorry for me. Like it was almost his fault or something. I do not know why his heart changed for me like this, but he never bugged me after that.
Of course, I tell people these stories occasionally and they scoff in laughter, not believing me in the slightest. I guess thatís what makes a testimony to the unbelievers.
Anyway, there might have been other times I prayed. I donít remember particularly. I did not want to bug God. I did not have any religious "training", everyone in my family were atheists, and I never went to church.
But there came another time when I wanted to pray.
Now I was sixteen. I was lying on my bed at the boarding school I just entered. My mom had eventually remarried, this time to a man with a black belt. He was very short tempered and me and him often clashed. We all lived together several years, about three I believe. Not having a father (he left for another woman about three or four years before my mom remarried), I lacked discipline and my mom was not able to control me. I became a tyrant in my own household. I even got physically stronger than my mom (who was quite strong). I believe I was also stronger in will power. I had a very strong will, and still do I believe. I also tyrannised my sister and my mom would often go to work crying. She was torn between giving me love and trying to discipline me.
In any case, her new husband was short tempered and it did not make for a good combination. I did not like giving up my seat of power. I did not like someone telling me what to do. We did not get along and he did not have the patience nor experience to be a good father.
Nevertheless, I later realised that this might have been in Godís plan because I needed disciplining and I was very prone to be proud. I needed to be humbled.
So, because our battle of wills was making it impossible for almost anyone to live in that house, and because I felt I was moving towards losing my marbles, I proposed that they send me to boarding school.
They thought this was an extremely good idea and decided to fork up the cash somehow, to send me to private school.
So, here I am, back on my bed at this new boarding school, looking up at the ceiling, crying because of the insecurity I felt in this new environment. I longed to be with my dad again and I prayed with all earnestness to be reunited with by dad.
This prayer was not answered (immediately) and I grew resentful against God. In fact, I gradually changed to calling myself a devout atheist. I started reading atheistic books and many philosophically oriented literature.
Later, when I believed once again, I looked back to how I thought when I called myself an atheist and realised that I still believed, way in the back of my head, but it was like an open protest or something. I was rebelling against God. This makes me think that all people are conscious of God, even if they believe he does not exist, but are blocking him from their mind because they do not WANT to believe in him (the bible actually says that we are given enough proof to believe in him). But, then again, I am me and I cannot see into other peopleís head.
But one day, when I was living in Banff, Alberta, it popped in my head to call up my dad. I must have not seen him for ten years or something and it was a long time since I talked to him. But one thing led to another and eventually found myself on a plane heading down to Boulder, Colorado.
Over the years, my dadís second family was coming to threat and he and his new wife decided to experiment and start going to church. He was afraid his second marriage was going to fall apart and he wanted to avoid this. He also wanted to provide some stabilising "foundation" for their children. He was the atheists of all atheists, but was just grasping at straws.
Nevertheless, being a guest in their house for a month in Colorado, I went ahead with them to their church. Even though I have not gone to church much in my life, I must say that the preacher there was by far the best I have ever heard speak, his words were very powerful and were melting my heart, even against much resistance. Over my month there, I was debating heavily against my father, but it was the first time I had debated against a believer and lost at every argument. My dad knows much about science and many things. Anyway, because I kept losing in all my arguments, I finally gave in and agreed to give the concept a try and read the bible. After all, it was also true that, being such an atheist, I had always said to myself that, to be fair, I should eventually read the bible, just to "give the other side a chance to give its argument".
Anyway, as described in Deciphering the bible, when reading it I saw logical complexities and amazing correlations that I simply could not believe mankind was capable of putting together over the hundreds of years the bible was written. And why on earth would he in the first place? Why would the Jews write so cryptically? Why would they hide some second meaning behind what they wrote? It did not make sense and, on this logical point alone, I decided that God had to exist.
I also noticed that the pages of the bible were opening up like a window of light to me, and that it seemed to bring light into me, or something (all a new concept, so I was trying to grasp the situation).
But after reaching this conclusion, I put the bible down and stopped reading for about a week. And then doubts started coming back into my head. It started to appear like nonsense. I was on the verge of throwing the whole concept away, but then I thought, "Hey, wait a minute, if I felt or saw this light, and somehow understood things more when reading the bible, and considering the arguments I lost against my dad and the power I felt from the preacher at his church, maybe I should give it ONE more chance."
So I forced myself to read it again, the light came back, understanding came to me and I believed once again. Together with my growing understanding of the bible, I concluded that it was the devil who was trying to shroud my vision and draw me away from the Truth. So at that point I decided, if I will ever grow to doubt again in the future, I will simply force myself to read random parts <link to talking with God> of the bible and the light and understanding will come back to me. <link to study on light>
So this went on a while, although over time, I drifted away as is natural <link to falling away> , until several years later, after completing university, I was by myself in a basement flat in Vancouver, feeling very dark, depressed, and lacking the light of the Spirit. I felt so depressed and empty that I wanted relief from it and to be back in the uplifting and loving light of God. From my, by then, accumulated understanding of the bible and how things work, it occurred to me that I should pray to receive the living Spirit of Jesus. This is something I never did before and which the bible places fair importance on. I felt really silly. I even looked out the small basement window to my left, in case someone was looking in on me. I felt rather embarrassed, but forced myself to say the word, almost choking them out, as if the devil had his grip around my throat (felt a bit like that, and have even heard testimonies of people wanting to make the same decision in church but couldnít say the words, so the preacher said "In the name of Jesus, Satan loosen your grip on her and let her speak!" Ė also several times mentioned in the bible). I coughed out the words: "Jesus, Iím feeling pretty empty in my life. Please forgive me of my sins, fill me with your spirit and show me the way." Something to that affect and I cannot exactly remember.
Anyway, I did not feel any great immediate change, but I have to admit that the next day I have never been so filled with the Spirit in my life. I felt so elated and full of joy, I tell you the truth that I thought I was floating. I felt I was rising up, my feet not even touching the ground, floating upwards as I was walking along the sidewalk towards one of the shadier intersections in Vancouver. And that is when, at that moment when I started to feel I was floating, that thoughts came to me (thoughts mostly come to people, yet they rarely consider where these thoughts come fromÖ) that I actually have a purpose now that I have received the Spirit (and the bible clearly talks about this many times). So there I was approaching this shady intersection with thoughts in my head that I will have to start preaching the bible, spreading the gospel, and then fears came to my head (maybe the devil talking to me, for forces truly are battling for our minds <link to the war of the sky in this world> ) how I would be making a total fool of myself, ostracising myself to my peers and family, and then the thought came to me of people saying, "Anyone can do that. Be a useless unaccomplished bum and preach about Jesus." That is when I said, "Not yet," and when I stopped floating and landed back on the sidewalk. The bible clearly says that we must not do this, feel shame like this, that we should be willing to ostracise ourselves, suffering for Christ and all that, but I simply felt I was not ready. So, once again, I went down the long road of decline and falling away from the spirit, due to my shame. But I held onto this justification: Wouldnít it be better to first become a successful millionaire so that I can dangle my last bank account statement in front of the nose of these scoffers and say: "Really? You think it is simple to give up this to preach Jesus?!" So that is basically the road I have been on since then. And once in a while I would ask God, and every time he would not approve of my fancy master plan and justification. And I feel regret, and I struggle with these things all the time. Working hard, justifying myself by giving as little to myself as possible and giving as much as I can to charity, but I failed in that one crucial instruction the bible touches over and over and over again: I failed to give myself to Jesus. To love God "with all my heart, and all my soul, and all my strength" Ė the greatest commandment.
To the unbeliever God may seem too indignant, but this is a hard subject to explain. All I can say is that I feel I would be better off if I could just fully let go of my pride, follow a humble path in full servitude of Christ and God, like mother Teresa for example, but instead I am falling short. I am subject to shame, yet I still place hope that I will one day accomplish this, and I meditate and pray on this constantly. Unbelievers look at Christians, find some fault in them, and say, "See, God canít exist, because I see all these hypocrites and the lives they live not according to their gospel". But this is a copout argument by someone who does not want to believe in God because they shudder in the thought that they will have to stand before God on Judgement Day and answer for their miserably selfish lives. Or they just donít want to deal with any of these ideas and just serve themselves. But I can tell you it is not an easy matter to give up all your worldly lives, face a life of ridicule and prosecution, as Paul talks endlessly about.
So this is my simple testimony. The story is not over yet, and a life with Jesus truly is a path and struggle. And it is hard to explain to an unbeliever why on earth someone would want to go through all this struggle. But that is like trying to explain colour to a blind person. They will never understand colour until they open their eyes and see the rich and bountiful world around them. And the unbeliever will never understand this struggle or the rewards that come with it until they open their hearts, for Jesus is always knocking, and experience his sweet LIVING Spirit.
<quote about chosen ones>
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