How did a person who was brought up as an atheist come to know God? Read the following testimony from a graduate student to find out!
The world views everything as permissible, if not acceptable. What is right and what is wrong, I could not seem to differentiate. Bribery is understandable, pre-marital sex is acceptable and cheating in examinations, tolerable. As long as one is motivated to satisfy a need, regardless of the method used, the end justified the means. That was my worldview before I knew Jesus.
My name is Shiloh and I am currently a graduate student. I used to be an ambitious girl. When I graduated from a top-notched city high school, I was devastated when I was unable to get into a university of my choice. I became very anxious about my future and I pushed myself beyond all limits to strive for a “better” life.
However, I saw hurt everywhere; my mind was in a mess. I was looking for truth, beauty and wisdom in my life. I resolved to read widely. But gaining more knowledge did not take away the sense of emptiness in my heart. I was frustrated and wondered what was wrong with me.
I was brought up as an atheist but I did not believe my philosophy teacher when she taught us that God is just an image created by human beings for the purpose of satisfying our emotional needs. I had always thought that there must be a superpower beyond our imagination. I did not know what to believe; I pushed on harder in search for an answer. That was my life before knowing Jesus.
One day, a friend came to me and told me that she is a Christian. She believes in Jesus and said that she is like everybody else, a sinner. But Jesus loved her and died for her to save her from her sins. If I believe, I could be saved “from my sins” and enjoy a relationship with this Almighty God. I listened but did not believe. Nevertheless, I like this friend of mine. There was something different about her.
When I went back to my dormitory that day, I found a Bible lying on my roommate’s desk. What a coincidence! I thought to myself. My roommate is not a Christian but somebody had just happened to give her a Bible. When lights went out in the dormitory, I took out my torchlight and started reading the Gospel of Matthew. As I come to the Sermon on the Mount, my heart lit up. It felt so bright and clear, a stream of happiness and sweetness flowed through me. Although I did not understand all that I had read, I could not stop myself from loving the teaching in the Bible. I had lots of questions. So I asked that friend to explain them to me. I began to understand how much God loves me and how beautiful and tender His love is. I found the answer I have been searching for. I found this message of love in the Bible. I prayed to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
God started to change my thoughts and my desires dramatically and entirely.
He opened my eyes to see true wisdom and beauty in the Bible. But after reading the Bible, God’s standards became clear. There is a standard for right and wrong.
Ever since I got to know God, He has brought to my attention the importance of relationship. As a girl brought up by a single parent, I told myself since young that I could not rely on anybody else. I must be spiritually and financially independent. I had never shared my deep thoughts and emotions with anybody else, not even my mom. I forced myself to be very strong so that nobody could hurt me, then I felt secured. I used to avoid spending time in deep relationships so that I could focus on achieving my goal.
Jesus in the Bible was different. Even He was hurt. He loved to the point of death. The wall of defense around my heart crumbled. He showed me His way to see and think about the world. He gave me love and concern. He showed me my need to love and be loved.
This made my heart sing. I still remember when I first read Romans, the verse “Ever since the creation of the world His eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things He has made” (v 1:20) just pointed right into my heart and made me so joyful! I always believed that there must be a superpower beyond our imagination. And when I read that verse, a light shone into my head, I realized who God is, finally.
Written by Shiloh Wu
Edited by Pamela Choo
for United Bible Societies, China Partnership