Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
In Chinese Translation (马太福音 7):
This post is my own testimony on how I became a Christian. The story is long but immersed by the amazing grace coming from the holy spirit. May God blessed every reader as if I was blessed in the story!
The toughest challenge in this world is to let a person accept Jesus. Instinctively we do not want to do so because Jesus asks us to leave what we are used to and be away from what we enjoy but to go forward to seeking a totally different mean of life that by "nature" we are not able to take.
I was born in China, an atheist nation. From childhood I was taught that there were no gods in the world and it depended on ourselves to make the world better and better. Such a teaching sounded very exciting to me, and to many of us too I believe. We are the masters of the world and we can determine anything by ourselves. What else can be greater than that? But, is it true really?
Once I opened a book titled The Holy Bible. In the first line of the first page it says "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Almost immediately I threw the book away. Such a stupid book! I thought. God? How could the world have a god, and indeed, who needs a god? Can anyone show me a god? Certainly nobody can. And, more importantly, I told to myself: we do not need god at all to rule us.
Then I came to United States as a foreign student in graduate school. And I became a regular visitor to a local Chinese Christian church. Don't get me wrong, however, I went to the church only for the food. Chinese people like to eat Chinese food. The local Chinese church provided the attendants free but well-cooked Chinese food every Friday night and Sunday noon. As a new and poor Chinese student in America, this offer was very appealing to me. Therefore I went to the church regularly but just for the food. Some time, however, I also attended the Bible study and even the Sunday morning worship for showing my appreciation of the food. Sincerely I told the pastor of the Chinese church, however, "You Christians are good people. But you are fooled by things that can never be true."
"You will see," proudly I declared to a friend, "after the last person in this world who becomes Christian, there is still me."
Thank God, however, HE did not give me up though seemly I had totally given HIM up.
One day another friend handed me two books---认识真理 (Recognizing the truth) and 游子吟 (Song of a Wanderer) and asked me to read. Both books are about the gospel. I was surprised because the friend was not a Christian yet. So we had the following conversation.
"Why do you want me to read the books?" I asked.
"I feel nervous," he answered. "the books are so convincing that I feel I am going to be Christian soon."
I laughed at him. "Pity." I said.
"Well, I may help you." I continued, "But, you know, it must NOT be the truth. We study science and we know how to prove or disprove things. Therefore, I will show you why the teaching in these books must only be false truth. Actually there are only two ways people may adopt to establish a false truth. The first way is using the false or the unrelated evidence in proving. The second way is using the methodology of sophism. Either way, however, I will show you why the arguments in the books must be wrong."
With great confidence, I brought the two books back home and started reading. It was the Christmas time. So I had plenty of time in reading. I told to myself: I am smart enough to catch this false truth. It was this self-pride that drove me deep into reading these Christian books. Only when later on I thought of this story again, I realized that how merciful God is. By using my own self-pride of fighting against God, God made me know HIM the first time. How Great Thou Art!
After I opened the book, a chapter title caught my attention. The title was "耶稣基督复活的证据(The evidence on the Resurrection of Jesus)". Aha! I told to myself. This was it! How could resurrection be true? Of course it must be wrong and I would catch the tail of the author immediately.
Carefully I started reading the chapter. And then ... I was shocked.
If only I was honest to myself, I could not deny the proof in the chapter. It was not a scientific proof by the rigid mean. But it was a strong-enough historical proof. As the author said in the book, any other historical event must have already been widely accepted as a truth in history even if the evidence was weaker than we had for this one. But many of us still did not accept it only because we did not WANT to accept the result.
It was in that night that I started thinking of Jesus and the Bible seriously the first time in my life. In the night I committed my lack of knowledge about Jesus and Christianity. I realized that I must not self-boasting but started being humble to learn what I did not know. With such a new emotion, I opened the Bible again. Surprisingly, this time I was able to read beyond the first line.
In the next two weeks, I read the Bible thoroughly three times. I was overtaken by the great wisdom the book discloses. I am a thinker myself. Hence it was breathtaking when I found a much much greater wise person standing in front of me and speaking. Totally I surrendered. "No humans may author a book like this one," I told to myself.
The wisdom itself, however, was not enough to make me be a Christian. But it was then the starting point of my seeking to God.
The biggest obstacle from seeking God is human's unwillingness of repentance. I heard many complaints that God never respond. People told me that they sought but never found. It is because the seeking without repentance is hopeless. It is not because God do not want to help people. It is because the holiness cannot stay together with sin. Fortunately, repentance is not a problem to me.
I knew I was a sinner before I knew Jesus. What I truly took care was just myself and nobody else. How could such a person not a sinner? But nearly all people around me thought I was a very good young man. And it was not surprising at all since they were the same type of persons as me. By addressing me a good person it indicated they were good too. This was, is, and still will be the world we live. I was, however, honest to myself; and thus I knew indeed I was not good. Therefore, I had few resistance when I was told that I needed to repent. In front of God, I confessed that I was a sinner and needed salvation.
The repentance, however, did not make me accept Jesus. The logic is straightforward. That I was a sinner did not derive to that Jesus is God or even God do exist. Hence I questioned God: how could I truly know you? Like Thomas the Apostle I fought against God by demanding the observable evidence about HIM.
And the following was my pray:
God, I do not know whether you exist. To my heart, however, I do wish you existed since I need salvation. But I cannot believe it unless I could have an undeniable evidence. You are God. I do not know how to reach you. I even do not know which evidence I need to convince myself. But if you are real, you must know how to reach me and make me believe. And thus please show me because I do look forward to you. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray.
Three times a day, I insisted on the pray for a month. And God answered.
It was February 26, 1998, Thursday.
An older sister in Christ (Sister Pan) invited me to do Bible study in her home at that night. At the meantime, she lived in Kent, Ohio. I was a graduate student in University of Akron. There was a half-an-hour highway drive between my school and her home. I replied her with yes. I just bought a used 1984 Honda Accord with $1400, more than half of the money I owned at the moment. I had, however, a class to attend at that night till 7:30 PM. Therefore, I told Sister Pan that I would arrive at her place at about 8:00 PM. So far everything seemed just normal.
In the morning of that day, however, abnormal things happened. February 26, 1998, the day was destined to be abnormal to me because it was the day I reborn.
In the morning when I came to school, many Chinese students were talking about a free movie that was going to be displayed in the student theater inside the campus. Free movies were not abnormal for UA students. Every semester there were a few free movies in campus, some of which were the movie previews. Anyway, be very honest I had totally forgotten the name of the free movie in that night. But very clearly I remembered how enthusiastic many of the Chinese students were in that day talking about the movie. It was said that the movie was fantastic! The movie would be displayed in the campus theater at 9:30 PM.
After I came to the campus, very abnormal things started happening around me. During the day, there were four groups (which means more than one in each group) of Chinese students who came to invite me for the movie. It was very abnormal because before and after the day I got none movie invitations at all though there were several other free movie nights. More weirdly, each group told me differently about the fascinating of that movie. Some told me that the story was great; some told me that the director was great; some told me that the actors and actresses were great; and some told me that the movie contained some well-shot porn scenes that was great. It was sounded to me that the movie must be the greatest ever.
In the beginning I was not moved. At the end, however, I hesitated. Although politely I refused their invitation with the excuse of a conflicted appointment, secretly I went to get a movie ticket and hided it in my pocket. And the following was my perfect plan of the night.
7:30 Class end, drive to Sister Pan's home
8:00 Arrive at Sister Pan's home, start Bible Study
9:00 Bible Study end, drive back
9:30 Back to school, watch movie
A perfect plan, isn't it?
About 6:30 PM when my last class of the day started, I was told that all the movie tickets were gone and there were still many students outside asking who had extra to share. "Very weird," I told to myself because so long as I knew the free movie tickets had never run out before. With satisfaction I held the secret ticket in my pocket. At 7:30 PM, I started the car and the exciting night.
Before joining the highway, I pushed the acceleration pedal and a problem occurred immediately. No matter how hard I pushed the pedal, the car could not be accelerated over 30 mph. The automatic transmission stopped working.
Beside the road there was a large parking lot. At that time of the day, the parking lot was empty. And thus I drove the car into the parking lot and started checking the car. After having tried all I knew, the car still could not be accelerated over 30 mph. Finally I gave up. It looked like that God wanted me to watch movie, I laughed at myself. Then I drove back school.
In front of me, there was a red light and I stopped my car. At the very moment, a question caught me from nowhere (later on I believe that it was from God).
"What do you really want tonight, Bible study or the movie?"
It was weird that I was not worried about my car at all at the time despite it meant the lost of a huge percentage of my money at the meantime. At the time in my mind, there was only this question.
Suddenly a voice emerged from somewhere deep inside myself. "Bible study", it cried, "I am not interested in that dumb movie." I knew it was me who answered though it must be some deep me in contrast to the superficial myself. And then, the light turned green. And then, I pushed the acceleration pedal. And then, the speed meter showed over 30 mph. I took a look at the clock in the car. It was 7:57 PM.
I stopped the car and was stunned. What happened and what should I do in the next? Let's review my original plan. Now it was about 8:00 PM. If I insisted on the original plan, it would be as the following.
8:00 Drive to Sister Pan's home
8:30 Arrive at Sister Pan's home, start Bible Study
9:00 Bible Study end, drive back
9:30 Back to school, watch movie
Obviously the plan became unrealistic since half an hour was too short for a Bible study. It meant that I had to choose 1 among the two. Either might I go to study Bible or I could go for watching movie. More importantly, at the time I had a very excusable reason for not attending the Bible study---my car had problem. The past half an hour was real. The problem was real. It would be disaster if I insisted on driving to Bible study but the car was broken in the half way highway at the night. The perfect excuse was simply laid in front of me. I was tempted not to go for the Bible study.
Just at the moment, however, the same voice inside me cried out again---"I will go for the Bible study!" And so it be. Suddenly I believed that my car had no problem at all without any reason. I just believed it. And then I turned around my car again forward to the highway.
I remembered the following very clearly. Just at the moment when the front tires of my car touched the surface of the highway, I experienced the most exciting moment in my life till now. Just at the moment, a great deal of joyfulness and peacefulness was poured down from heaven and immersed me. It was like a huge bottle of oil poured on the head and running down to the heel. In Pslam 133:2, it says,
It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes.
This verse describes exactly the same type of feeling I had at the moment.
There are no words in this world that can describe precisely that feeling. In this world the greatest joyfulness and the greatest peacefulness are actually not harmoniously existed. When one is very very happy and excited, she is unlikely very much peaceful since her blood is burning. In similar, when one is with the greatest peacefulness, she feels calm and safe but must not in the greatest excitement simultaneously. The co-existence of the greatest happiness and the greatest peacefulness is like that the sea is with the greatest storm but at the same time there are no tiny waves on its surface. It was unreal. Or, more precisely, I had experienced something that is truly surreal!
The joyfulness and peacefulness from heaven were with me for not just a minute, but the entire half an hour journey. I do not know how to express my feeling in that half an hour. The only thing I could tell was, when finally I stopped my car, knocked the door, and saw Sister Pan, I told her: "Today, I believe." And the feeling stopped.
What can I say?
In Bible, it says "...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20).
My story, however, tells that if only one can have faith that is greater than a free movie ticket, she can see the evidence of God. What is the value of a free movie ticket? Zero. Or maybe 0.01 cent at most. And that is the amount of faith God ask man to have in order to see HIM.
This is my testimony. Wish you had this blessing from my Lord as well!
About my 1984 Honda Accord. It did not have any problem at all since that night until Sister Pan moved to another city, which was more than half a year later. In particular, the transmission of the car had never encountered a problem. Several years later I gave the car free to a friend and he drove it to California.