I was born as a son of a Muslim Malaysian. Our family has a long leading religious and political tradition in Malaysia. As leading personalities in a Muslim country Islamic religion was omnipresent and central in our lives.
I was raised according to Muslim tradition, was educated in Arabic language, the Koran, cleansing rituals, praying, fasting etc. But I also had the privilege to travel a lot as a young boy and live in different countries and learn a lot about different cultures and religions. I knew Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Christians and I really wanted to find out, which religion is the right one. Obviously there couldn't just be one God and several religious ways to near him because the teachings and commandments of the several religions are often so contradictory, it couldn't be the same God who gave them to mankind. Look into creation! Study the laws of physic. We daily can experience a Creator with unimaginable wisdom, knowledge and logic! And this Creator can't be that confusing and chaotic like the religions in this word reflect.
I remember an event when I was around six years old. Due to the position of my father he often traveled around and sometimes I didn't see him for months. One day I really missed him and was so eager to meet him. It came into my mind to pray to Allah and ask him to bring my father back. But at this moment I had a big problem! I knew how to pray in Arabic and the cleansing ceremony but I didn't know how to pray to Allah for a specific need. I wasn't able to speak to Allah in an appropriate way and with the right words, in the correct formal order. I experienced Allah as a God who was very, very far a way. A holy God only to be reached with an in-depth knowledge of the Koran and its commandments, right cleansing rituals and correct Arabic language. On the other hand I learned Christianity as a simple religion founded on love and forgiveness - and always ready to accept the weak and unworthy. I always was impressed when I watched the Christian films as a small boy. In Quo Vadis for example the persecuted Christians were tortured by the Romans and they willingly were ready to forgive them for these bad deeds. The Christians were then thrown to the wild, hungry lions in the amphitheatre. Facing death they started to praise and worship their God. I felt an indescribable strength spreading out from those Christians. They were weak, but even though strong. They were dying, but they were sure to live in eternity. I was impressed and also confused. I decided to pray in a neutral way and asked for the returning of my father by the next day.
The next day someone knocked our door. As I opened it I recognised my father smiling at me. He told me that he wanted to surprise us with his coming! I was so happy and knew that God answered my prayer. I was by that time convinced that God exists. But it was on my heart to find the right one!
Back in Malaysia I experienced the Islamic culture and laws as very difficult to fulfil. During Ramadan when we were fasting I even wasn't allowed to swallow my saliva. When I farted after the cleansing ritual and before praying I had to go through the ritual once again. After yawning I had to pray a verse from the Koran so no demons where able to enter me through my mouth. I wasn't allowed to touch dogs, not even to play with toy dogs. I had a necklace with religious writings. Before going to toilet I had to take it off. And there were thousands of other rules and commandments I had to obey. And I was so afraid to do something wrong and to fail, I just couldn't find an inner peace.
At one occasion I received a Bible and I started to read it. I read in the New Testament the four gospels (Matthew, Luke, Mark and John). And every single word spoke to my heart. I learned that for God we are all sinners. And how hard we try to fulfil the laws we wouldn't succeed. Because God is even holier than I thought. Only one sin in our life is enough for not being able to enter heaven. And I knew that I have committed at least one sin in my life. But God also says: (Eph 2:8 NIV) "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves (by trying to fulfil the commandments), it is the gift of God."
One day my father and I were very ill. I went to several doctors, but they weren't able to diagnose my illness. Despite all the medicine I took, I felt weaker from day to day. I had already lost 12 kg of weight and I felt that my time to pass a way was near. Then I started to pray to God. I confessed Him all my sins. And I asked for forgiveness. I accepted the sacrifice God gave through His son Jesus Christ and that Jesus died in my place for my sins. I wasn't able to eat, to stand up nor do anything physically - but I was able to pray and I prepared to face God in eternity for the last judgement. And it was my wish to be able to enter heaven.
After maybe four or five weeks vegetating in my room without any care I was hospitalized. At that time my father was already in the ICU (intensive-care unit). One morning relatives woke me up and told me that my father had just passed away ...
The official version of the cause of his death was heart failure. But actually the doctors didn't know exactly the reason of our sickness. There are rumours that we were poisoned or even victims of black magic. I believe that I survived according to the word in Mark 16:17-18 NIV "And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
A few years later I had a nervous breakdown and also psychologists couldn't help me. I remembered that God, who is able to help in hopeless situations. Who makes believers able to forgive their enemies, to worship Him while facing death in amphitheatres, who is able to heal when one drink deadly poison and also is willing to help in depressive moments. Coincidentally my wife brought me to a service of an American evangelist (Ray Jennings). There we as a whole family converted to Christianity. The evangelist also layed his hands on me and prayed for healing and I immediately recovered according to the word: "And these signs will accompany those who believe: ... they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
Today I live with God and know that He is with me. And I want you to know, dear Muslim reader, that the only true and real God of the Bible will also be with you when you decide to follow the way of Jesus.
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