Finding God

One of the most moving aspects about being involved in ministry is hearing about how other people find God. In Psalm 33v15 it states that God “fashions our hearts individually”. This means that He deals with each one of us individually and differently so that every person who turns to Christ will have their own particular and unique “faith journey”.

Recently I came across two fascinating journeys of faith which led both individuals involved into full time ministry. Both examples are quite inspirational and an encouraging reminder that God is continually active in the hearts of individuals calling them away from evil and disbelief. Whether or not an individual listens to God’s prompting is of course up to them because the Lord has given us freewill to choose for ourselves how we respond.

The first story is about Dr Paul Gentuso who eventually became a medical missionary in Cote d’Ivoire. As a young man Paul decided to go to medical school in order to become a doctor. He didn’t really believe in God and assumed that his existence was but a random accident of nature. Studying science however, was to totally change his thinking.

The following are his words “In anatomy class we dissected a human hand. In investigating the hand, I first removed the skin, then isolated the individual tendons and muscles as I worked my way to the bones. The tendons of the hand are aligned in tendon sheaths, like self-lubricating pulleys, allowing the hand to work in a tireless, noiseless, almost effortless fashion. It was perfectly designed to carry out all the work it was called to do, everything from lifting a small object to lugging a tree trunk. In seeing how each tendon was perfectly aligned along the axis of each finger and how each finger moved in a coordinated fashion when tugged by individual tendons it became obvious to me that there was a Creator Who had intelligently designed and created the human hand. This was the first time in my adult life that I could say with assurance that a Creator existed. It was a spiritual experience for me. I went from disbelief to certainty based on studying God’s creation.”

Paul’s eyes were opened as it dawned on him that the Ultimate Scientist and Designer of life was Almighty God. It is often said by Christians in the scientific community that science merely explains how God makes things work; the Bible on the other hand goes further by explaining why God created us. As Paul contemplated these truths he gave his life to the Lord and after completing medical school, God called him to the mission field.

It is quite wrong for individuals to think that science and religious belief are incompatible. The reality is that numerous people like Paul have found faith as a result of their study of science. Professor John Lennox at Green Templeton College Oxford puts it like this, “For me as a Christian believer, the beauty of the scientific laws only reinforces my faith in an intelligent, Divine creative force at work. The more I understand science, the more I believe in God because of my wonder at the breadth, sophistication and integrity of His creation.”

Scientists have recently discovered that if the information encoded in just a “pin head” size of DNA was written out in book form, those books would stretch to the moon and back over 200 times. As it stands now, atheists actually need to have faith the size of a mountain to believe that all this complexity has happened as the result of blind chance.

The second journey of faith is about The Rev Dr Jay Modha who was raised as a devout Hindu in Leicester. Jay’s brother Jimmy shocked the family by converting to Christianity and as a result his father threw him out of the family home. Feelings of hatred ran so high that Jay actually prayed for the Hindu gods to kill Jimmy for the “shame” he had brought by turning to Christ. Jay, who was studying for his Ph.D. stated at the time, “While we would have mourned his death, at least our family would not be dishonoured.”

Jay completely disowned his brother Jimmy and refused to talk to him. Jimmy however, responded to all this anger with forgiveness and love. On parting, Jimmy gently said to his brother, “Jay, if you are ever desperate and no one is there to help you, remember Jesus loves you, and His hand is on your life. Call to Him and He will save you.” Jay was furious at this response. Jimmy however started to pray earnestly for his brother, pleading that the Lord would open his eyes to the truth of Christ.

Shortly afterwards Jay had a disturbing dream. The following are his own words; “It was as if I was awake in my bed at three in the morning when suddenly a blinding light broke through the ceiling of my bedroom. In that light I could see a cloud descending from heaven bearing three awesome, fiery men-like creatures. The first blew a trumpet so loud I knew whatever was coming was universal in consequence. The second creature cried out ‘Make ready, for the Lord is coming to reap the harvest.’ Then the third swung a scythe over the earth and cried ‘now the earth is ready for judgment.’ “

“I tried to wake up from the dream because I was so frightened but I couldn’t. Then in the middle of the cloud I noticed a Person Who looked completely different. The brilliant light was coming from Him. He was dreadful in His beauty and terrible in His splendour. As He descended, He looked at me. I was so terrified I couldn’t bear to look at Him any longer, so I turned my head. To my amazement, there beside me was Jimmy, who was not scared at all. His face was joyous and he was reaching out as if to embrace the figure. When I gained the courage to look at Him again, He addressed me saying ‘Jay what are you going to do when this happens?’ Then everything vanished and I woke up.”

It took Jay an hour to calm down and several days later when he heard about the dream, Jimmy phoned his brother to explain that what he had witnessed was the Second Coming of Christ. This event is prophetically referred to over 1800 times in the Old Testament and over 300 times in the New Testament. The Bible teaches that God is Infinitely Holy and the purpose of the Second Coming is to call individuals to account for how they have used their freewill. Those following Him like Jimmy, yearn for this event, because it means an end to persecution and suffering, but those who refuse to follow the Lord are terrified at the thought.

God is not morally indifferent. He cares profoundly about the difference between right and wrong and makes a clear distinction between those who truly follow Him and those who refuse to do so. The promise of the Second Coming is proof that God is indeed closely watching all the suffering and wickedness in the world. In due time He promises to intervene in a most spectacular way, both to judge the wicked, and for the sake of the righteous, to stop the human race from destroying itself.

Jay didn’t like what his brother Jimmy was saying so he eventually hung up the phone. But while he could silence his brother, he couldn’t silence his own mind and so more dreams came to disturb his sleep. The turning point came after he had received his doctorate and went out to Japan where he had been awarded a prestigious research fellowship. He was in such a state that he considered suicide, but after nearly jumping from his balcony he vowed to find out if Jesus Christ was in fact the Living and True God after all.

For many months he studied the Bible and when he got to the Lord’s words from the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke Ch23v34) he suddenly knew in his spirit that Jesus really was Who He said He was. Jay prayed for forgiveness and he felt the burden of his guilt lifted. He grew quickly in his new found faith and after joining a church in Glasgow sensed the Lord call him into ordained ministry.

All those who come to Christ will have their own unique “faith journey” because the Lord deals with us personally and individually. The important thing is not how spectacular or dramatic this journey to faith may or may not be but rather that we do indeed listen to His promptings and respond to His call. The journey itself is not the important thing. All that matters is actually getting to the right “place”; namely the “place” of repentance and salvation whereby we enter into a personal relationship with the Saviour Jesus Christ.