From Confusion to Peace- A Young Man's Search for Meaning

I was born in a Hindu family in India, and I was a strong believer in the caste system. I worshipped idols from my youth. When I was a small boy, I would go to the temples and bow down before the idols. At the age of seven, my family went to Canada, and there also I continued to believe in Hinduism for some time. But at a young age, I became interested in finding out more about God. Then someone told me about Christianity. I began to read a New Testament in secret, not wanting my parents or anyone else to find out.
In those days, I was very afraid of what would happen to me after death. I wondered whether there was a heaven and hell and if Jesus Christ was real. I wondered if God even existed.
Thus, in a way, I was searching for God. But when I went into grades 7, 8, and high-school, the sins of the flesh began to take a stronger hold on me and I began to seek the things of the world. I was too afraid to go to church at that time. I began to read pornographic magazines, I was running after girls, and I was going to the dances and the movies. My thoughts became very corrupted as I watched many hours of television. I could not look on a girl with clean eyes by the time I was in grade 12 and 13. I became a slave to the sin of masturbation at this time, and there was no deliverance for me from these sins.
In about grade 10, I overcame my fears and began to attend a church. I started to go to the youth group and to the Sunday services. Because I went regularly to church, the people there took me for a Christian. I would come forward at the altar call saying that I accept Christ, and I would raise my hand when they asked for a decision. But even when I did all these things, there was no change in my life. There was no deliverance from my unclean sins. I felt that God was real only when I was in a meeting. When I went home alone, I had no prayer life. I would spend only five minutes every night in prayer. I felt very empty and wondered if Christianity was real.
After I got out of high school I began to attend the University of Waterloo where I was studying computer science. There I began to attend a large Christian group on campus. Because I attended regularly and was very enthusiastic, they made me a Bible-study leader and I began to lead others.
But despite all these things, I was growing very restless in my life. I was beginning to wonder about the validity of the Bible. I was talking to many people about different religions, and they were telling me that their religion was the true religion and that Christianity was false. I was very uncertain because I lacked a true conversion. Although I had gone to church for several years, no one had told me that I needed to confess my sins and forsake my sins. As a result, the way in which I was trying to follow God was becoming very unreal to me. So when these people told me these things, I began to believe them and I began to doubt the validity of the Bible, and I began to doubt the very existence of God. Thus I was deciding in my heart that I would throw away the Bible and turn to some other religion.
At this time, in my confusion, I was praying and asking that the one true God should reveal Himself to me--the God who could save me from my sins, the God who could give me peace and deliverance in my life--that was the God whom I wanted to follow. When I was praying this prayer in 1981 in the summer, I met one brother from the Laymen's Evangelical Fellowship, a student from India. He told me that Jesus Christ is a living and a speaking God, and that Jesus Christ can give a young man the deliverance and the victory over sin in the days of his youth. I had gone to so many Christian leaders and youth retreats and youth camps, but no leader had ever told me that it is possible for a young man to live a holy life.
When this brother told me these things, I was first suspicious because he came from India. I felt that the gospel should go from Canada to India and that I should be teaching him. I had invited him to my Bible-study to teach him. But when he told me these things, the Word of God began to burn into my heart. During this time, many in the Fellowship were praying for me. As I began to pray with this brother and as he talked with me, I began to see the depth of my sins. For the first time, I saw that I needed to confess my sins before God.
As I waited upon the Lord and studied His Word, God convicted me deeply that I needed to restitute the things I had stolen. As the Spirit of God convicted me, I obeyed God in these steps. I went to my parents and asked their pardon because I had stolen money from the house. And I went to places where I worked, at a gas station, and returned money. I humbled myself before people to whom I had lied. In all the areas that God showed me, I set my conscience right with man, and I humbled myself deeply before God.
Then the cross of Christ stood before me, and I saw that the Lord Jesus had died for my sins. A great joy and peace began to take hold of my life, and a new power came into my life. God gave me victory over all my unclean sins. God began to give me victory in my thoughts, and God spoke to me from Psalm 73:22 and on, that he had forgiven me. It says:
"So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."
When I read these words, I was really filled with joy and praise and I knew for the first time, after over ten years of doubting and questioning, that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.
After this, God taught me how to pray. God showed me that I should spend one-tenth of my time every day in prayer and Bible study. He also taught me to keep the Lord's Day, to sanctify it and to keep it holy. Even when I had examinations early Monday morning, I would close my books Saturday night. As I obeyed God in these things, a new grace came into me to concentrate more on my studies in the other six days of the week, instead of my thoughts wandering all over the place. God put me at the front of the class in some of the subjects I was taking, much to my surprise. How I praised God for these things. God began to teach me and lead me in every step. He also strengthened me through the fellowship of his children.
-Vinay Deshpande