The year was 1991 and I was a twenty-one-year-old atheist. Although I had been baptized at birth in the Methodist church, GOD had become just a myth to me. I had no need to seek Him because I knew all the answers.
Then I met Terri.
For the first time in my life, I cared for someone other than myself. Yet she was a Christian and I was an atheist. But GOD had a plan to tear down my old self and rebuild a new self.
I had never thought much about my own mortality. My inevitable death wasn’t real to me. But in the summer of 1992, all of that changed.
One day, I was at work and suddenly felt strange. I began to feel dizzy and nervous. I had to go home. I quickly got worse and became convinced that I was dying.
For two weeks, I lay in a darkened room waiting for my heart to stop. Finally, though I didn’t really believe, I started to ask GOD for help.
“Please help me GOD, I don’t wanna die”.
For the first time in my life, I really wanted to live. Terri’s love and friendship had given me a reason to.
I sought medical help. After many tests, they couldn’t find anything physically wrong with me. So, they suggested I get mental help.
I saw both a psychiatrist and a psychologist. I was diagnosed with depression, panic attack disorder, and agoraphobia (fear of public places). This was NOT a good combination for a college student trying to attend large lectures!
Over the next three years, I began seeking GOD and slowly improving. All through this, Terri was with me, patiently helping and teaching me. I didn’t know how to pray, so I asked her.
She taught me to how say “Thank You” to GOD. To this day, I always give thanks before a meal. It helps keep me centered. I read the Bible and tried to believe. But GOD still wasn’t real to me.
I had been reading about how the Israelites had been carried off in slavery to Babylon. I began to identify with their captivity. I was a slave to my afflictions, a slave to my sin, a prisoner in a fallen world. It seemed like there was nothing I could do to stop evil from winning. I began to get very depressed as the feeling of hopelessness built up. But GOD was planning a surprise that would change my life!
It was spring of 1995. I had been very depressed for quite some time about the state of the world and how my little life seemed insignificant. I felt useless, powerless, and very very sad.
“I wish it would rain…” “I wish it would rain…” I thought this over and over to myself one particular day. You see, we lived in Tucson Arizona, where it rarely rains. But when it does, it’s so refreshing. The choking dust is washed from the air, from the city, and from the animals and people. The sight and smell of it always made me feel better. “I wish it would rain…” However, the likelihood of rain that day was very remote. It was all hot blue desert sky. Perhaps there were a few tiny, spotty clouds, but nothing to get hopeful over…
“I wish it would rain…”
I felt so down and depressed, I just said this over and over in my head… “I wish it would rain… I wish it would rain”. Later that afternoon, my despair had become unbearably complete. I was in my apartment crying and Terri was doing her best to comfort me. It seemed like evil, and injustice were going to win and there was nothing I could do about it.
I felt like one of the prisoners of Babylon. The city where I was living, my country, even the whole world felt like Babylon. The Babylon of the Old Testament and of the New. The Babylon from Revelation: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit…” (Rev 18:2)
Evil was everywhere and it was triumphing over Good. There was NOTHING I could do about it. So, there I was, consumed with despair and crying; Terri trying to comfort me. Then, something happened that my stubborn scientific mind couldn’t explain…
The weight of my despair about the state of the world and the helplessness I felt welled up inside me. Then from the depths of my soul and all my being, in a loud voice I cried out to GOD:
“MY GOD, I FEEL LIKE I’M LIVING IN BABYLON!”
* splash * * Splash * * Splash * * SPLASH! *
As the echo of my cry reached my ears, I heard another sound. The sound of rain hitting the roof! Suddenly, I felt my anguish turn inside-out. It was replaced with joy, hope, peace and the knowledge of a Living, Loving GOD! My sobs had turned to laughter!
GOD had given me my rain. For the first time, I believed… I KNEW… that GOD is REAL!
Well, it began to rain, and then pour! We went outside and viewed an awesome and incredible sight. From my second floor apartment we could see nothing but blue sky all around the city, except for directly overhead. It was raining buckets right over my apartment. Others noticed the sudden downpour and emerged with puzzled looks on their faces, staring at the sky in amazement. Me, I just grinned and enjoyed GOD’s answer to my silent prayer.
I realized that I had been given a very special gift: a sign from GOD. A sign that He knows our thoughts and needs. I believe He wanted me to know that He’s in control and evil is NOT going to win! I was seeking Him with all of my heart and soul. I had called out to Him, and He had answered in miraculous fashion.
This is the testimony that I share with you today. That GOD is real, knows our inner-most thoughts, and loves us all very, very much. Enough to send a sign from heaven to an atheist turned seeker. Well, now I’m a BELIEVER! This experience, that my scientific mind couldn’t explain was the beginning of my BELIEF. It’s the mustard seed of FAITH that’s now growing inside me.