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God’s good word transforming lives – four stories

I’m sure that book after book could be written on the goodness of God’s word, exploring various passages and the ways in which we ought to delight in its beauty. However, surely one of the most impactful ‘good’ things when we think of God’s word is the offer of forgiveness, of salvation, of reconciliation with our Maker.

As we meditate on God’s interaction with his people throughout the ages, we can’t help but be amazed at this offer, especially given the backdrop of our sinfulness – our persistent insistence on our autonomy despite failure after failure. We think of that harrowing motif throughout the book of Judges: “… everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (Judg 21:25b).

Out of this shared declaration of autonomy, God’s word is exceedingly good in offering us hope in salvation. I think of Isaiah 55 and the invitation to come. With the context of the servant song of Isaiah 53 and the means by which salvation will be achieved, all that is left is that we hear and accept the most wonderful of invitations:

“Come, all you who are thirsty,

come to the waters;

and you who have no money,

come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

without money and without cost.”

                                                (Isa 55:1)

Of course, God’s word doesn’t just extended an offer, but gives us a guarantee. As he speaks his word, he brings life! God’s word always does what is intended (Isa 55:11). It is powerful, active, and will satisfy our souls. It really is very, very good.

So often we are reminded of this in the testimonies we hear of how God is powerfully working in the lives of people who do not yet know him. We hear of the impact of the Bible on non-Christians who through questions, doubts, and curiosities are exposed to God’s word. We see its goodness in these stories, as reading the Bible, people have their innermost thoughts and desires exposed (Heb 4:12), and are taught, rebuked, corrected, and trained in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16).

We know that God is working all over the world. Here are four stories of brothers and sisters who have come from a South Asian background, been exposed to God’s word, have turned from darkness to light, and are growing to serve our Lord Jesus more.

As we have just celebrated this Easter season, and looked afresh at the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, be encouraged by the goodness of God’s word. God’s word is so good, in bringing people from darkness to life, and growing them to love and serve him more. And be encouraged that this is happening all over the world, including at our doorstep in Sydney, Australia.


It’s really tough, but God is good

Why are there so many gods? Do I have to pray to different gods for different things in life? What comes after this life? These were a few of the many questions I had growing up in a Hindu family. I grew up going to the temple on special occasions and doing poojas[1] at home but without ever really understanding the point of it all. By doing these poojas, did this mean I would be in God’s good book? I was constantly questioning what God thought about me and how I could please him. I was searching for a relationship with God, someone I could talk to, who I knew in my heart I was right with, and who promised more than this broken world we live in.

When I was in primary school, a friend invited me to Christian Scripture. I was excited as it was something new and I got to spend more time with my friend. It was the first time I heard about this person called Jesus. It was the first time I heard about a God who wasn’t mythical but looked like you and me. This intrigued me to look further into Christianity and to keep going to Scripture with my friend.

Unfortunately, my friend passed away from cancer when we were young, and this put a halt on my search for God. This tragedy made me question how God could let such a thing happen. With my Hindu understanding, I questioned what she did in her past life to deserve to die at such a young age. Maybe this was a case of karma?

It wasn’t until my early twenties that I started looking into God again. In my twenties I climbed to Everest base camp. After six days of gruelling trekking, as we were approaching base camp, I had altitude sickness. Stubborn me pushed ahead anyway and made it to base camp. On the way back, I was so ill that I had to be stretchered in a snow storm back to the lodge. I honestly thought I was going to die up there. All I could do was pray. I prayed to God, not knowing who he really was, but knowing that he was out there and watching.

When I came home, I explored the Bible more closely and went to Bible study. I am thankful for my Bible study group for being patient and kind as they explained the Bible to me in context. A friend took me to her loving church family. I could see God in the loving way they spoke to each other, in the guidance that they gave, and how God was personified in the way they lived their life.

I began to pray every night for the world, for myself and my family. I truly felt God was listening. God is there with me as I pray. God is there with me as I read his word. God is good. I embraced Jesus as my saviour and Lord. It was not an overnight decision for me, but a few years in the making. The first time I took the Lord’s Supper as a believer at church was one of the most memorable days of my life.

Just because I decided to follow Jesus, it didn’t make life easier. As I grew up in a Hindu household, my parents didn’t have an issue with me going to church and Bible study, because to them Jesus was just another god. My lovely mother even bought a picture of baby Jesus and put him on our ‘god shelf’. She was being supportive in the way she knew how, without really comprehending that Jesus is the one and only God.

This all changed at my wedding. My parents couldn’t quite understand why I couldn’t have a Hindu wedding as well as a Christian wedding. It was a true test of my faith: do I please my parents who have loved, supported and guided me my whole life? Do I understand and take seriously the marriage commitments I was making before God? I wrestled with God and I prayed a lot. I knew in my heart that I needed to hold true to God and the promises and commitments I was making in my Christian marriage ceremony, and hope and pray that my parents would come to know Jesus too. I still pray that the Holy Spirit will open their hearts, and that one day they will come to see the amazing God Jesus is. If I’ve learnt anything it’s this: life can be hard and you’ll have ups and downs. But God is good.

[1] Prayer meetings