[Ask a man to present this first-person report.]
I was a guitarist in a heavy metal band. For me, life was about making money and having a good time.
Then my father died suddenly. Soon afterward my wife left me and took my daughter. I was shaken to the core. I sensed that something was missing, but I wasn’t sure what.
A couple years later I met Olga, a woman I had known years earlier. But now she was a Christian, an Adventist. I had never believed in God, never known any Christians, and never heard of Adventists. But I liked her.
I figured that if I talked to her, she would realize that believing in God just isn’t normal. I tried to prove from science that God doesn’t exist, but she wasn’t convinced. She didn’t argue; she just gave me books and videos. For the sake of argument, I read the books and watched the videos, looking for flaws in Christians’ thinking.
Olga invited me to church, and I went. The lesson that day was on creation. I tried to convince the class members that creation was wrong, that the world had evolved. The class members didn’t become angry or turn away; they just listened and continued with the lesson. I began to think that maybe Christians weren’t so wrong after all.
The church had planned a weeklong retreat in the mountains. I had an office near their camp, so I went to my office in the mountain so that I could join in the retreat. The church members were like a family, close and supportive. I was surprised to see that they could have fun without alcohol. My friends and I always drank when we wanted to have a good time. The church members welcomed me as one of them. I found myself enjoying the meetings and the fellowship.
As I continued reading about evolution, I noticed that scientists would come to a place where they couldn’t explain how evolution could arrive at a certain conclusion. There was always missing information. But Christians, it seemed, could fill in the blanks. I began realizing that it took more faith to believe in evolution than in creation. I began to believe that God is Creator.
I had smoked and drunk for years. I’d tried to quit, but I’d always failed. I loved Olga, and I wanted to quit smoking and drinking—for her, if not for myself. Olga told me to ask God for help. I had heard the people in church talking about praying to God, so I tried. “OK, God,” I said. “I don’t believe in you, but if you exist, help me to stop smoking.” I threw away my cigarettes, and God gave me the strength to never smoke again.
On another night as I looked up into the dark sky, I saw the uncountable stars above. I remembered a verse I had read or heard in church that says that God knows the number of the stars in the sky and the hairs on our heads. I realized that if God is God—and the reality was becoming compelling—He is, indeed, mighty. He holds the universe in His hands, and yet He cares about something so small as the hairs on my head.
I had long thought that I was the god of my life, that I didn’t need anyone else. But that night I accepted Jesus as Creator and as my Lord. I gave Him my life. Soon afterward I asked the pastor to study the Bible with me, and a few months later I was baptized. Then I married the wonderful woman who had led me to God.
God has taught me many lessons in the past few years. He taught me that I’m not the center of my life. I must not take things into my own hands, but let Him handle them. He taught me that He cares about the largest things and the smallest things in our lives. He’s the God of creation, but He’s also concerned about our smallest problems.
And God taught Olga and me that He answers prayers in His own way. She had prayed for a Christian husband, one who didn’t like heavy metal music, who didn’t smoke or drink, and who lived a healthful life. I was none of those. But God changed my life and made me into the man she had been praying for. I sure was an unlikely answer to anyone’s prayer before God took hold of my life.
I still love music, but now instead of playing heavy metal music, I lead a church choir.
Your mission offerings help people such as me learn the truth about God as Creator and as Savior. Thank you for helping me turn my life around and giving it to Jesus.