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From our series "Finding More."


Tabitha’s story...
Nothing scared me worse than the idea of going to hell. I was raised in a cult led by my father, and I was taught that the possibility of hell was like a 99.99% chance, while going to heaven was only as likely as winning a billion dollars. From my youngest childhood, I formulated various schemes to try to escape this fiery damnation. No one told me to believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. No one explained faith to me. Instead, I was taught a fatalistic doctrine that said that if I were to become a Christian, the Holy Spirit would just have to suddenly show up one day, enter me, and boom! like that, I’d be born-again. I just had to wait around and see if it would happen, though the chances were next to none.
In effect, this was just waiting to go to hell, and this I could not do. At the age of 13, I decided I had to do something, whatever I could concoct, to make myself a Christian worthy of this Jesus whom I knew had died. I began to rise at 5:00 every morning to read my Bible a couple of hours, committing large portions to memory, plastering my walls with quotations, writing essays over the things I was learning, praying, and trying to put what I felt was fitting for a Christian into practice. I became an obnoxious Pharisee, incredibly literate but excruciatingly legalistic. But my parents were impressed by my unusually deep interest in spiritual matters and the moralistic transformations in my life and told me, to my great relief and surprise, that I had become born-again. I believed them. But I didn’t know God at all.
But then when I was 26, God sent the Holy Spirit into my life, and this Spirit began to convict me powerfully of the true state of my heart despite my extreme religiosity. I was very discontent with my life and had no power to effect change but knew that God had the power to change everything. Yet He was choosing not to. I began to question the goodness of God and realized that in my heart I could not honestly say, “Thy will be done.” This realization showed me that Jesus was not really Lord of my life and that my profession was but in vain. God showed me what a hypocrite I was and that I was deserving of hell. Terrified, I waited to drop dead and go to hell. But I didn’t. I continued to live – because God kept my heart beating, and God gave me the air to breathe, and God gave me all the sustenance I needed to live. That’s when I grasped the concept of God’s mercy. I began to see how much mercy God was already showering upon me. This gave me the courage to cry out to Him even for His special grace and mercy in Jesus Christ. Through an agonizing year of everything unraveling about everything I had believed before, God gave me the gift of faith, and I was born-again at the age of 27.
What a new creature I became! And how my life changed so rapidly as Jesus called out, “Come, follow Me!” I was called away from my family, away from my hometown, and called into a life of suffering and faithful evangelism through my everyday encounters in everyday work. I have been called to the King Himself to be His child and His chosen instrument, and for me there is no looking back. I cannot but be a Christian.


Brad’s story...

“I Was a Rock”
The first thing you ought to know about me is that I would never have let you get too close to me. I was a decided loner, for a specific reason. My own self-esteem rested in being superior to others – in academics, in sports, in music; growing up, these were my big three loves, and I prided myself on how well I could perform as an athlete, scholar, and musician. So I allowed others into my life to the degree that I could measure myself against their achievements; that close, but no closer.
In case you are wondering, it was a terrible way to live. I had to satisfy myself that I was the person to look up to. I couldn’t handle being just another face in the crowd. I needed to be better; and that made for a lonely existence. I put the best face I could on loneliness – I liked to think of myself as a rock or an island, neither of which feels pain. But the truth was that I wasin pain, and shed many tears. I can remember being overwhelmed as a college freshman, with my only securities and strengths laying in pieces before me, leaving me to question my very worth.
I wasn’t looking for God at this juncture. I felt that I had all of God there was to be had. I was religious, attending church nearly every Sunday. But God was as distant a figure as other people were to me, someone I wasn’t sure about - was God a friend or foe?
But all this changed rather dramatically after I began a study of the Bible. My eyes were opened to the fact that Jesus was the risen savior, who invited me to truly know him. I was gripped with the reality of Jesus’ life, words, death, and resurrection as never before. Suddenly, I knew someone who didn’t represent a threat to my self; on the contrary, Jesus opened the door for me to re-enter the human race, no longer as a competitor, but as a fellow traveler.
Years later, I can still recognize my pride when it flares up. I still look to the left and to the right far too frequently. But I’ve found in Christ the one who has freed me to be simply who I am – a follower, a witness, and, in Christ’s love, a friend for others.
Brandon’s story...

A Sure Footing

“I doubt it."

That was perhaps the most frequent phrase to cross my mind in High School and College. I am a skeptic by nature, and I often found myself far less sure about what I had been taught than many of my classmates and friends. I found other people around me blindly accepting what their parents had told them, but I found that I didn’t much care for people’s traditions, feelings, or personal anecdotes. These doubts led to the second most common phrase I used: “But how do you know that?” The answer to that question was sometimes even more disappointing. I wasn’t looking for a few circular thoughts that often seemed to contradict each other – I was looking for foundational knowledge that I could trust. I was looking for truth.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know what the Bible taught -- I was raised in a Christian home steeped in Scripture. But as I began to pursue a degree in philosophy, I found that the vast majority of educated people were rejecting Christianity. All the religions and thought systems of the world were being tossed on a plate together with Christianity and all were being treated like mythical ways of looking at life. The only thing I could think to do was the very thing I’d done all along: keep asking questions. If the smartest people in the world are rejecting Christianity as a fairy tale, then what should I believe?

I quickly found that it was much easier to try to poke holes in a belief system than it was to offer viable alternatives. I saw friends angry with God for being absolutely immoral, only to become an atheist and declare there were no absolute morals. I saw others bored with a meaningless Christianity who instead embraced a system that denied meaning altogether. The more I searched for a better system of thought than Christianity, the more I found satisfaction within it. It wasn’t that I found an answer to every single doubt or question I had about the Bible, but that despite all those questions it was far and away the best answer. I couldn’t prove that everything in Christianity is true, but I could prove it was by far my best bet.

Even putting it that way in insufficient though. Saying that following Jesus was my best bet is a bit like saying I married my wife because she was statistically the most likely to be compatible with me. It’s factually true but grossly discounts the importance of emotion, relationship, and love. My mind chose Christianity because it answered the questions of meaning and morals, I am a Christian because I found a God that loved me in my sinful brokenness and doubt, and gave me a reason and a hope for a future. I set out to find truth as if were a set of rules, what found me was a God of truth that made sense of my world and called me to know and trust him and live for him.

Elaine's story...

I was born in China and educated to rely on science, evolution, and communism. As a result, I was a firm Atheist. My aim in life was to travel around the world and have all sorts of fun, because I thought life was short and wouldn’t come back again. Strangely after tried everything, nothing could ever satisfy me. It felt like there was a hole in my heart that could never be filled.

I used to think Christianity was the same as all other religions--fake and full of superstitions. Then, one day, I was invited to a Christian college-professor gathering and decided to join. I was surprised to meet so many smart professionals that believed in Jesus. I humbled myself for the first time in my life and began to question my old beliefs.

One professor told me a story, “You were like living in a dark room for the past 30 years. There was no light in this room. All the other people in this room also told you that there is no such thing as light existing in the world. Now, I tell you that there IS light in the world. Actually there is a window in this dark room. As long as you push the window, you will know what Light is.” This story touched my heart.

Religion to me was like an academic degree. I thought I had to study and practice it for years to truly gain it. It was my first time to hear that believing in God is as simple as pushing a window! “Then I can try…”, I was thinking. I want to have some kind of faith, because all the Christians I saw before seemed always joyful without reasons! I want that joy. I want to be happy. I want that hole in my heart to be filled.

After studying more, there were 3 things eventually converted me. One is lack of intermediate species fossils and multiple gaps in the fossil records. The second is that science has proved the earth has limited age, but evolution theory was built on the presupposition that in infinite time period, one species can eventually evolve to another species. The third one is - if the universe was generated by a random big-bang, it should be in chaos and there should be very little order. Instead the universe was precisely running, which means, it must be created by a designed and well planned big-bang. This Creator must be ALL-MIGHTY to do so. If a Creator can design such a precisely running universe and complicated human body, I do not have any doubt that He can create our body again after we die. Resurrection is not a difficult theory for me to accept at all.

After I found that I was actually created—not just a random organization of molecules--I realized that my life must have a purpose from the One who created me. I want to seek His plan for me every day. My heart is no longer empty. I am no longer thirsty for happiness. I am joyful everyday by knowing that my Creator is all-mighty and have a purpose for me. I am also grateful that He sent His son to redeem and die for me, so that I can stay with Him forever.

In conclusion, history has proven to us that socialism, communism, and other made-up or self-practicing religions, cannot save human beings, because they are all trying to save themselves by their own efforts. How can dead people save dead people? Only a LIVING God can save people by giving them LIFE. God used my scientific knowledge to reveal Himself to me. He revealed to me that what I had been studying are rules and regulations created by Him. This is how I was converted and deeply convinced. I have to pass this good news to everyone who is hindered by evolution theory and communism. This is my mission from Him for the rest of my life.