There are times when we come across people who leave deep impressions on our lives. I encountered one such person in the Lord Jesus. Not only did Jesus deeply imprint my life with his incredible, unfathomable and profound love, but he also permanently transformed me from deep within.
I come from a middle class Hindu family. I was not too much of a bad guy, but like most children of my age, I was a little mischievous.I subsequently moved to MIT, Manipal to undertake studies in engineering after my 12th. During my journey from my small hometown to Manipal, I got entangled in some vices such as drinking and smoking.
In college, I got involved in college politics; bickering and group fights became my favorite pastime. My aim in life was to “enjoy” the power which world provides, at any cost, and I convinced myself that I was doing just that, though a sense of solitude often gnawed my inward being. The ways of the world attracted me immensely and drove me to indulge in all kinds of destructive activities. These often led me to get entangled in numerous problems. I used to get particularly irritated with the statement of my close Christian friend who would approach me when I was in the worst mess and tell me that God loved me. I use to wonder and mock him in my heart thinking how little he or his God could fathom my pain. To me, God was someone who was up there and who had not much time to care for me or my problems. I knew I just had to handle everything on my own. But, to be honest, the time spent with this friend of mine used to bring me immense consolation. Little did I realize then that somewhere amidst my problems and difficulties, God was already speaking to me.
God broke through my deafness in my final year of engineering. I had organized a cultural event in my college, and it ended up in an ugly fight. After the event, I was organizing a small thanksgiving party for all my friends and elders who had worked for the event. As I was getting everything ready for the party; my Christian friend turned up and said something to me, which became a turning moment in my life. He said, “Piyush, while I was praying, Jesus told me to tell you that if you do not drink tonight, he will forgive all your sins and take care of all your problems.” His message made little sense to me. I, however, told him that I would try not to drink though it was next to impossible for me to avoid drinking (because of habit and social custom).
This was an incredible moment in my life. I said yes to God and his grace overtook me. That day I did not drink at all. God kept his promise. Till today he has given me grace to abstain from all kinds of alcoholic drinks. 9 years have passed but I still look back to that evening with eternal gratefulness to God. That night I once again started a fight but later things turned around. I was seen calming people down in the end since I was the only sober person around.
After this incident, things changed in my life, and I slowly overcame all kinds of personal problems. I was always a good student and had obtained a first class throughout my academic career, but I could not find myself a job in my final year of engineering. I went to Pune for a computer course and kept on hunting for a job. I would occasionally pick up the Bible my Christian friend had gifted me and read it. Sometimes a verse or two would touch me, and I would ask God to give me an experience of his love.
In year 2001, the dotcom burst came down and my course and the computer centre both came to a standstill. I was back to zero and was struggling to find out why things were going wrong in my life. To spend some time in peace, I decided to accompany that same Christian friend for a spiritual retreat in South India. During the retreat, God’s power and love touched my heart and transformed me from deep within. On the final day of the program, when we were praying for God to send the Holy Spirit, I said “Lord Jesus, I don’t know you much, but speakers here say that you are the Son of God. I am tired of living life in my own way. If you are the Son of God and if you give the Holy Spirit, please come into my life.”
After having said this, I was just praising and thanking God like everyone else. In a few moments, the presence of God overshadowed me, and I experienced an infilling of divine love in my heart. A sweet and peaceful wind surrounded me, and I could hear angels praising Jesus. I was in tears and cried like a child. Without much understanding, I kept thanking Jesus in tears and I burst out saying, “Lord, I offer you my life, and I offer you my cigarettes”.
My life completely changed after that. I dedicated my life to Jesus and quit my bad habits especially smoking. In my journey with Jesus, he healed my childhood wound of sexual abuse and gave me the grace to forgive people who had hurted me. By God’s grace, I completed my MBA and am now blessed with an excellent job in Bangalore. I was baptized into the Catholic Church in October 2006. In my spare time, I work for prayer groups and take up other church activities. I must stress that I now enjoy myself a lot more than before. It’s been a real blessing to know the love of God through Jesus Christ. What gives me peace today is not just the confidence that I am a better human being but the firm conviction that I am a child of God. I sincerely pray that God, the father, might bless you with his love and truth, in Jesus’ name. Amen.