Saturday, December 02, 2006

Lisa's Testament of Faith

Sometimes, readers send me stories that got be shared with the other readers. We can all learn from each other. Today, I share with you Lisa's story:

I was born into a Church of England family. My parents had me christened in the church that they married in. I assumed that I was a Christian. My Mum had been a Sunday school teacher, and used to sing “Jesus” songs with me in the bath, but I only remember them making me feel pretty uncomfortable.

As a teenager, I started to explore my identity. I studied RE in school. RE taught all major religions, and it started me thinking very seriously about whether or not there was a god. I was especially impressed by the Sikh religion. I also remember a group of us exploring the occult until a friend warned us that it would cause us to go to hell. We found an encyclopedia picture of hell, it did not look fun and so we stopped.

I took my A levels in science. It was at this point that I decided that there had to be a God on intellectual grounds. Chemistry taught the theory of chaos, in which all things became more disorganized unless an outside force organized them. Also I recognized the logic of the periodic table of elements. No one but a higher being could have done these things. I remember asking my Christian friends how they had found God. I also prayed to him myself, asking him to find me, or at least let me know which religion had the right answers.

After A levels I went straight to University. I wanted to be a missionary doctor; perhaps by being very good I would find God. I started to question evolution, which had been a large part of my biology studies. A close friend became a Christian in college, and he completely changed over night. It was like watching a different person take over. In my eyes he became a better person, and yet I was not convinced that he had all the right answers. He kept telling me that I needed to be born again. He invited me to his baptism and the pastor asked everyone to stand up if they wanted to receive Jesus as savior. I remember shrinking in my seat and wondering what my new university friends would think of me. At the same time I found myself standing up. At this point in time I was aware of a deep hunger to belong to God, and an awareness that I had sinned. I felt a relief after standing up, and a realization that Jesus was God. This was a completely new experience.

Several weeks later I was praising God, and became aware of a strong force upon me. I felt afraid and very ecstatic at the same time. I started to praise God in a strange language that I had never learnt.

However, I soon became unwell. I suffered from very severe anxiety. My Mother blamed my new faith and insisted that I never again go to church. My bible was burned. I felt worse and further away from God than ever before. I continued in my pre-Christian life, having no power to control my sin. I had a complete fear of death and hell.

For ten years I actively shunned the church. My Mother died and I got married and had my first child. It was after my son was born that I decided to return to my search for God. I went (very tentatively) back to church. I got baptized. I worked harder and harder to find peace with God, eventually getting involved with multiple church projects. You see, God had dealt with my sin, but it was not the sin but the sinner that needed to be dealt with. It was not what I did but what I was that was the problem.

I remember looking seriously at the 10 commandments. I had broken many of them over the years, but now I had reformed myself and could seriously manage them all, except “thou must not covet”-I remember feeling really perplexed when I thought about this, it felt impossible, there was something badly wrong. Then and there I decided to give up all my church work. If I could not keep the 10 commandments, then church work was a waste of time. Besides I was tired of it all, it felt like too big a job. I began to pray, I begged God to change me. I wanted to become acceptable to him. I realized that I was a sinner. God showed me just how badly wrong I was, in every area of my life. He also gave me the ability to turn away from my sin. I remember one night he woke me, I was really afraid to be in his presence, because He is a holy God and in comparison I am just a worm (I was reminded of Isaiah having an experience of God, in which he cried out “Woe is me, for I am a sinful man and I live within a nation of sinful men and my eyes have seen the king, the Lord almighty”). I thought that I would die as his holiness was totally overpowering, and my only plea was that Jesus is my savior.

The next morning it was like a complete miracle. I was really free. I have never since felt that overwhelming fear of death. I now know the peace that passes all understanding. I can truly sing “my chains fell off, my heart was freed, I rose went forth and followed thee,” I actually join with Newton singing “ amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” I know that in this life I will never be perfect, but the power of the cross can overcome. In him there is a power to change that is quite beyond description. He has taken me beyond a set of rules and adopted me into his family. Suddenly the New Testament makes perfect sense. Over the years that have passed, I have repeatedly asked the Lord at what point in my life he saved me and his answer has remained the same-2000 years ago, on the cross.

-- Lisa

Thank you Lisa for taking the time to write me your story. I really appreciate it.



Blogger E said...

Thanks Lisa for sharing your great story, and thanks Fayrouz for publishing it.

12/04/2006 09:01:00 AM  

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