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Saakshiyam – The testimony

After the heavy applause abated, he slowly got on to the podium. The worship leader stepped aside.

“Praise The Lord”, he said.

“Praise the Lord”, the crowd mumbled back.

“My name is Steven. I thank the Lord for this beautiful evening and for his grace which allowed us to be here today. Without the Lord, our God, I would never have been able to stand here and tell you my story. Oh Lord! my life was that of a sinner, yes!”, he wailed.

With a sigh, he continued, “Imagine the most obnoxious and annoying person you have met in your life, I was ten times worse than that. I am not proud of who I was back then, but in order for you to truly understand the miracle that our Lord has worked in my life, you should know this. I was a liar and a cheat. I was promiscuous and I lied without the slightest guilt or inhibition, oh yes, a sinner I was.”

He looked around at everyone. They had fixed their gazes and were staring at him. He took another deep breath and continued, “When I was young, I dropped out of college, did one thing after another and ended up selling drugs for a living. I used to manipulate people to get whatever I wanted, I always told people what they wanted to hear, I have never felt remorse at what I did or empathy for the lives of people I ruined. My life was empty except for hatred. I alienated everyone who had tried to connect with me. With each passing day, I was spiraling down beyond hope. And three years ago, on March 8th, I had an accident. I was driving drunk and hit my car. I laid there for hours, bleeding and unable to move, but I was still conscious and under a lot of pain, when the light started to dim in my eyes I knew I was facing certain death, but what hurt  the most was knowing that my life was empty and that no one would miss me.”

The crowd went awfully quiet.

He continued, “When I came around, I was at a hospital. A good Samaritan had found me on the road and brought me there, he was a Christian missionary. He asked if I wanted to call someone, I nodded no. He sat near me, he had a kindly face and soothing voice. He told me, ‘Next time you drink and drive, there won’t be anyone to take you to a hospital. Know that the Lord saved you because he had a purpose for you, because he wanted you to be more than this. ‘ – He sat by my side and prayed for me while I fell asleep under pain medication. I was a complete stranger, yet he went out of his way to help me, I wanted to thank him when I got up, but he had already left, he kept a little blue book by my bedside table, it was a copy of the “New Testament”, with it was a little note, “May this help you the same way it helped me”. I did not even catch his name.

The crowed looked awake.

He continued on with a joyous stride, “I was in that hospital for several days, and I had nothing to do, I read and reread every passage in that book, I wanted to know more. Nothing could quench my thirst to know the Lord more, yes! I knew what I had to do, I repented, I accepted the Lord as my savior and six months later, I got baptized, amen!”

The crowed cheered.

He continued, with a smile on his face, “Today I have a job that fulfills me, I help people the same way I was once helped. I share the gospel with those who would listen.  I have a family. The Lord has shown me true happiness. Only the way the Lord can!”

The crowd cheered even more. •

This went on a while, there were songs in between, it eventually ended with everyone praying for Steven to continue in faith, stronger than ever. As we walked through the parking lot trying to find our car, Neha asked me what I thought of the testimony.

I said, “Clearly Steven was a sociopath. I mean, all the symptoms fit. Pathological liar, no remorse, no empathy, manipulator. The accident got him hit in the head, something changed. Maybe they cured his neurosyphilis while he was there, he was a promiscuous drug-dealer, he admitted it himself, STDs are not a far fetched idea here. It can be medically explained, he is no longer a sociopath, explains the change in personality.”

“That’s your take on this ?”, She looked like she was going to kill me.

Neha was a hardcore believer, I remembered what my old school professor once told us, “rationality, logic or reason never work in an argument involving religion.” and boy, was he right.

“Did you want me to say that the Lord did a miracle in his life ?”, I asked her. I was willing to admit that even if I didn’t believe it, because after three hours of being in a church, I was feeling pretty positive about everything and didn’t want her to harsh my mellow.

After a moment of contemplation, Neha said, “Maybe you are right, maybe he was a sociopath and now he’s cured. Then that is the miracle”.

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