My name is Paul. I was born under a different name, Kashif, to a Pakistani family. From a young age I had a close relationship with the supernatural. At the age of two, in my grandmother's courtyard in Karachi, I saw a brilliant light in the sky, brighter than the sun. It pierced my soul like a laser beam, and I was helpless before who I now know was God.
Later as I grew to be five, in my room God visited me once again. He asked me a question. "Would you die for somebody?" He asked. I didn't know the answer, so I turned it around to Him. He told me yes was the right answer.
I accepted His word, and immediately sensed a deep peace and joy. Then He asked me, "Would you die for anyone?" Same thing, I didn't know, He told me yes.
After a thought, I accepted this advice, and time disappeared as I entered eternity. I could have walked through the wall at that point and never looked back.
As I grew older, I was often sent to the basement for punishment to await my sentence. In these lonely times, I would say to God, "God, if I could be born a second time, I would not be so mean to others."
In Edmonton, at medical school, I lost all sense of right and wrong, as I plunged into a web of lust, perversion, drunkenness, drugs and pornography. From this I descended into addiction and the occult, as I tried to "find myself". During this time, many people in Toronto, where I was taking time off from school, offered me answers. From a drug-pusher, to a Buddhist new-age group, to satanists, to hare-krishnas, to my cousin who wanted me to see a mullah.
Finally, at The Glass Buckette on St. Joseph and Younge, the Jazz nightclub/restaurant where I worked, there was a Christian, who told me about Jesus.
Well, I wasn't going to let anyone preach to me - I had all the answers, at 22.
I refuted his testimony that Jesus had helped to stop smoking and drinking and doing perverted things, and publicly denounced him, the way any hotblooded muslim would do to a simple preachy-type. You've been there, I am sure.
But God is merciful, in ways you would only know if you believe what I am about to tell you.
One day, thinking to myself, "well Mohammed had a greater revelation than Jesus, but then came Joseph Smith and Baha'ullah. So the pattern is a new revelation as the situation requires", I decided to find out what new spiritual message I could offer the world.
After meditating the way I knew all these men did, I sensed a presence at my right shoulder. It asked me permission to use my arm to write down a message.
I thought, "Wow, I really am going to get the latest revelation", and it came into my arm. This is no lie, as God is my witness.
It began to write, "Believe if you can believe, receive if you can receive..." I paused, and thought about it and let it continue. But soon it degenerated into a message of hate and revenge and violence. This was no message from God!
Scared, I dropped the pen, and immediately sensed the spirit withdraw to a corner of a room. There, it cowered, radiating hate and fear at me. I fell on my knees and prayed:
"God if You are there help me now!"
As I was finishing this prayer, the telephone rang. It was the Christian from work. I let down my guard and asked him what to do. He told me to read the little red new testament he had given to me.
Only the revelation of John interested me, as I dismissed the miraculous answer to my prayer as possible coincidence. But the next one was good.
In revelation, the author talks of the number seven many times. Seven eyes of God, seven spirits of God, seven judgments of wrath, and so on.
Seven is the number of perfection in creation, because in six days God created the heavens and the earth and on the seventh day He rested.
You will be as surprised as I was when I sat down to write out the budget for the last month's spendings:
Oct --- Bus Pass 67 Rent 290 Phone 90 Food 120 Drugs 180 Misc 30 --- Total 777But still, I ran from the message.
In August, 1994, I began to read the New Testament for leisure, as one would read the comics. In it I sensed the character of Jesus, as being wholly good. He did so many things for people, and the things He said were true. I decided to follow Him as my teacher, but did not really believe the theology of Christianity.
In September, after two years' absence from medicine, I resumed studies, but had an insatiable thirst for the Bible. Even old testament books like Leviticus, and Deuteronomy jumped off the page at me and put life into my soul as I digested the character of God.
I had many questions, like how could you prove the Bible was true, and all of the theology, but God bypassed all of that.
In November, I went on a camping weekend with Campus Crusade for Christ. Saturday night, I asked my questions about the Bible and Jesus being God's Son, but was unsatisfied with the responses, which were faith ones, not intellectual.
But after many hours of singing and talking, the night grew warm and friendly, and I was left alone with my friend Dani, talking until three.
At this time, the whole camp was silent, except for the soft knocks which fell upon the cabin door: knock-knock-knock-knock-knock-knock-knock.
Seven knocks. My heart pounded as Dani answered the door. In my mind I had the thought, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come into him and sup with him and he with me." Jesus said this in Revelation.
"Is there anyone there?" I asked Dani.
"Nobody is there," she replied.
It must be one of the students, I thought, and went outside to confirm my suspicions. I searched all around the entrance, but found no one.
Sitting down on a swing to think, I felt a peace come over me and I was a child again. Wanting to see what Dani was doing, I got up and walked to the doorway. She was standing framed in the doorway, and there was a glow shining out of her face - a soft light radiating from her very skin.
This startled me, and I confronted God: "Oh, God help me!"
Dani calmed me down and explained this was a sign from God to help me believe. "Jesus died for your sins," she said. I believed, but did not want to give up control, because I was stubborn. We sat in silence for many minutes.
Then came a scratching on the windowpane. Dani went outside to see what it was. It was a sphere of light, hovering in the air.
Later, as we stood in the doorway to go back to our sleeping quarters, she saw a figure walking across the field. It must have been God. Everyone else was sound asleep.
Sunday night, back in the city, I lay fearfully in bed. Midnight.
Remembering the words, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble", I humbled myself and asked God to forgive me for ignoring all of His help to believe.
Suddenly a small light, like the sparkly light on birthday cakes of children, came out of thin air, two inches away from my forehead, and entered my brain: "Fizz-pop!" I had a deep peace like such as I had never had.
My restless mind ceased. My doubts were relieved, my questions answered. I KNEW the Bible was true. But I still could not understand the most basic scriptures. I still had to receive my gift.
The next day, somebody was brought into my path to open my eyes to the prophecies in the Old Testament about Jesus, which were fulfilled hundreds, even thousands of years afterwards, by Jesus.
For example, he showed me that His birthplace had been predicted to be Bethlehem, and His words, spoken in agony on the cross, "My God my God why have You forsaken me?", were written by David a thousand years before Jesus' punishment on the cross.
Having had this revelation, I confessed my sins, and received the gift of the Holy Spirit, which cleansed me of the pain my soul never even knew it had in its numbed state, and replaced it with the holy knowledge of its Creator, and more joy than can be contained in a human. I was born again.
After my conversion, the Lord allowed me to meet many Christians from a variety of fellowships. They are all a blessing.
Also, by His grace, I attended a Bible College for one semester, and am believing for His help to pursue further studies.
He has blessed me by taking care of all my needs, according to His mighty Word - material, social, and spiritual.
He is Lord par excellence. I was baptised in June of 1995, and I am seeing from day to day how he takes care of me. Glory to the Lord.
As God is my witness, this is all true. If you don't believe me, I will still field your questions.
But if you really want to be free, look to the cross, where Jesus was crucified so that all men could have peace with God.
Pride, which God hates, is saying, I know everything I need to know. Humility, which is what every student of truth should practise, is saying, others know more than me.
Humble yourself before God and He will lift you up.
Write back please and let's start a dialogue about faith and truth.
Paul Michael, firstname.lastname@example.org
Used by permission of Answering Islam