If you told me a year ago that I would be looking forward to getting baptised, I would have told you that you were crazy. 

Back when I was 15, I had a friend who told me she couldn’t hang out on Sunday because she had to go to church. I remember getting her really angry after I told her to skip church since “God isn’t real”.

That was when I first learnt that people actually believed in God. Gods were something like superheroes and Disney princesses to me. I thought believing in God was like believing in Santa.

My view towards faith grew even more negative after I met “Christian evangelists” who told me that I was going to go to hell and that all my beliefs in science were wrong.

It also didn’t help when I read news and history books that were filled with accounts of religious people committing atrocities. So I rejected them and I rejected Christianity.

I “studied” the Bible for myself to look for contradictions to use against Christians, almost like an anti-evangelist.

Going to university and learning about the scientific method only pushed my bias further, I honestly thought that only stupid people with no critical thinking could believe in a God.

However, during my final year of university, I got to know a girl who was extremely smart and also a devout believer in Christ.

I couldn’t understand how she could do it. I tried to debate her on the logic of her beliefs, but she would not entertain me.

Instead, she told me: “Seek and you shall find, call and He will answer.” That sounded like nonsense to me.

But since I was so confident that I was right, I tried it just so I could prove her wrong. And so every other night, I would look to my ceiling and say: “Hey, God. If You are there, talk to me.”

Of course, I never really got anything back; sometimes my head would hurt like it was being squeezed (I thought I probably just didn’t have enough water).

A crushing confession

Over the next few weeks, however, I made some bad decisions that completely derailed my plans for the future.

I kept it from my parents for weeks because I was dreading the response from them… sharing bad news with them always led to a huge fight. But I knew I still had to tell them.

However, this time, instead of being shouted at, they empathised with me. That only made me feel worse because I came in expecting a fight.

Afterwards, my mum came to speak to me in private. I’ll never forget her face, filled with remorse, when she said to me: “I’m sorry I didn’t do enough for you.”

That broke me. My whole life, I always felt like my parents never really loved me and only cared about how I made them look.

I thought my parents were against me, but hearing my mum apologise to me made me come to terms with something I always knew but didn’t want to accept – my parents did all they could with what they had.

Then and there, my heart forgave every grudge that I held against them.

It was also when I realised I had to wake up to reality: regardless of how my parents raised me, I willingly made every bad decision by myself and I had no one to blame but myself.

Overwhelming guilt… overcoming love

I felt so much guilt for all the pain I had caused my parents, and my heart sank into despair. Once I was alone, I broke down into screams and tears.

I’m no stranger to suicidal thoughts and attempts to take my own life, but this time the voices in my head didn’t just tell me to kill myself – they made me wish that I was never born at all.

The dark voices in my head were so bad I actually forgot my atheism. I questioned God as to why He would allow someone like me to be born and hurt so many people.

But no one answered, and the dark voices just got worse. All I wanted to do was to grab the box cutter sitting on my bookshelf and do something silly.

But just when the dark voices reached their peak and my hand was on the verge of moving to the box cutter, a clear, firm but gentle voice spoke three simple words, as if right into my ear.

I love you.

In that instant, all the other voices in my head were silenced – and they never came back. All the guilt I felt was replaced with this extremely warm feeling in my chest, and for the first time in a long time, I felt at home and at peace.

You know, I used to laugh at my Christian friends and call them schizophrenics when they tried to convince me that they can hear God.

But at that moment, I understood. I get it now. I just knew, with every fibre of my being, that it was Jesus Christ who spoke to me.


And yet, rather than rejoicing, I started to become afraid again.

I now had to reckon with the fact that Christ is real and alive, which also meant that I had to acknowledge I was a sinner. I could no longer pretend that I was a good person and live life on my own terms.

So I tried to reject Jesus’ existence and what He did on the cross.

Regrettably, I did many things to test God so I could prove to myself that He didn’t exist. But Jesus has continually made His presence known to me – to the point it almost feels like I have been wearing a blindfold my entire life.

As I had more encounters with Jesus, I started to learn about Him and understand His love for me. And although I still didn’t want to take responsibility for my sins, I started to feel a great appreciation for what He did on the cross for me.

Eventually, I made the decision to accept Christ as my Lord and I prayed the Sinner’s Prayer.

Ever since I took that step, life has completely changed for me. The dark and cynical voices in my head that made me doubt, distrust, hate the world and myself – they never spoke again.

And interestingly enough, my sleep issues which have plagued me for so many years no longer trouble me. My relationship with my parents is better than it has ever been, and I now actually enjoy having conversations with them and listening to their advice.

I can now say without a doubt in my heart, that I truly love them.

The Lord has blessed me with much this year.

He found the perfect career for me, helped me lose 15 kilograms, and most undeservingly, He has blessed me with Anastasia, the extremely smart and devout Christian who didn’t want to entertain me when I questioned her faith!

I never deserved any of this, but God’s love transcended what I deserved. While I can never do enough to be deserving of Him, He makes me want to become the best disciple I can be.

Honestly, living out the teachings of Christ has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, and I’m just glad that the Holy Spirit is here to guide me and help me whenever I’m struggling.

I pray that we all remember that God is always by our side, even when we think He isn’t.

My loved ones and close friends know best, the evil, shameful and disgusting things I have done. They know how undeserving of love I can be.

But still, God has redeemed me. Through His guidance, I pray that I can become a better friend, brother and son.

God’s love is the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced in my life, and I pray that everyone will have a chance to experience it for themselves as well one day.

Thank you, Lord, for not forsaking me – even when I had forsaken myself!