Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

Reema's testimony

My name is Reema Sharma Das. I come from an orthodox Brahmin (upper caste Hindu) family; my parents are from Himachal Pradesh, a very culturally conservative state in India where people do not want any kind of external influence; my parents are also very strict about culture and traditions. I have two brothers; both are working in Delhi; the elder one is married. Being an only daughter I have been loved and pampered by my family and loved ones.

I grew up holding the faith that my family had. I followed all the customs of my family since childhood and also was a strict follower of our family Guru. I grew up worshiping our Guru as a god and was very strong in my faith. After finishing my 12th standard (high school) I got a chance to move out of home; I came out for studies to Bhopal, a city in central India, where I met Seema and Solomon. Solomon was a believer in Jesus Christ and he introduced me to his family in Bhopal. I visited his church a few times.

As the days moved by, I moved to Dehradun, in North India, for further studies. Although I had no particular desire to come to Dehradun, that is where I got admission to M. Sc. (biochemistry). Seema and Solomon also got admission in the same college. Looking back, I can see that God’s will was taking effect. Of course, I was completely oblivious to God’s will at that time! I began going to the local church there with Seema and Solomon, my best friends. By this time, Seema (who was from a Hindu family) had also become a disciple of Christ. I had no such intention. My only purpose in going to church was to have their company and listen to some good teachings from the Bible. My guru taught that all religions are essentially the same, and therefore to be respected. It made sense. After all, all religions teach us to treat other humans well. My guru taught us that the name of God is revealed to us through meditation; these Christians were doing Bible studies to get to know God. Hinduism and Christianity seemed similar!
 
As time passed, however, I noticed stark differences between the teachings of my guru and the Bible. I was a Brahmin – this meant I had accumulated a considerable amount of merit by doing good deeds in my past lives – I was a righteous person progressing well in my journey to eternal bliss. However, the Bible said that we all are sinners – dead in our trespasses, utterly helpless and deplorable, deserving only God's awful judgment. I couldn't take this.

Another major difference had to do with the solution to sin, or the way of salvation. According to Hinduism, salvation is based on merit we earn by good works. We reap what we sow in the next life, and perhaps with millions of reincarnations we will be able to make amends for all our bad deeds, accumulate enough merit, and attain a state of bliss – a long, Herculean achievement on our part! During any given lifetime, there is no guarantee that it will be the last. On the other had, the Bible said that salvation was a free gift that God was offering; all one had to do was repent and accept it! And the only way we could have this gift is by receiving this one person, Jesus Christ, as one's Lord and Saviour, with full assurance and security! This meant that all the gods, goddesses and gurus in India amount to nothing!

I had arguments with my Christian friends about these points. At the same time, I found them to be genuinely loving. Even though I thought they were completely wrong, they seemed sincere in what they believed and practiced, and were a good influence on me. So I was happy to keep their company. As time passed, however, I started to feel that I am getting highly influenced by them. There was the danger of soon becoming a Christian! I never wanted to accept the Lord Jesus as the only God and savior, so I decided to run away from Dehradun and all my Christian friends.  

Hence, I made the tough decision to leave my best buddies and move to Delhi. I got a new job there and I hoped that life would become "normal" again. I was a young lady with disposable income in a metro. There were lots of things to enjoy, but materialism did not satisfy me. I resumed my puja (Hindu worship rituals) and worship of my guru, and tried my best to forget Jesus. However, there was this strange sense of emptiness. I cried in front of the temple inside my house, confessing my sin of straying from the path of my guru, but there was no peace. Instead, however, there were strange little incidents that made me feel like I cannot avoid Christianity.
  • I was anxious to do well in my new job in a publishing firm. There was one colleague who was very helpful; what kind of person was she? A believer in Christ who knew the people at the church I attended in Dehradun!
  • I had stopped reading my Bible. It was hard to understand. But I would find myself searching for Biblical content on the internet, and often seemed to find some verse that addressed my thoughts!
  • On many occasions, I would notice vehicles on the streets having stickers with Biblical messages on them.
  • I was staying as a paying guest. When I moved in and started putting my things on the shelf, I found a sticker with a Bible verse on it, Psalm 119:89. The very Bible that I was trying to run away from was right there in Delhi as well! 
These incidents were too frequent to be dismissed as coincidences. God seemed to be seeking me out! Added to the mix were prospective husbands that my parents would present to me: young, good looking, upwardly mobile men from good families, yet I could not make up my mind! There was one particular guy with whom things were almost fixed, but I strongly felt something pulling me back. At this time, I couldn't help recalling the things I had seen in the Bible. In all the Hindu satsangs (religious meetings) I attended, I had never heard a word about God reaching down to man in love. And yet, the God of the Bible presents Himself as doing exactly this. In fact, Jesus called himself the good shepherd who came to seek and to save the sheep that were lost, even giving his life for them! It became increasingly apparent to me that the Bible, and not my Guru's teachings,  was truly the word of God. Jesus seemed real. How could I ignore him?
 
This struggle continued, and one day in the month of February 2011, I decided to humble myself. I surrendered at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ. I said no to the marriage proposal at a late stage; this had the potential to become a big issue, but I cried my heart out and prayed to the Lord Jesus, surrendering myself to Him. The peace I felt was incredible. The guy's family also took my decision gracefully.
 
I resumed my reading of the Bible. All the former pretensions I had about my goodness melted in the light of God's word. I realized that I am a sinner. I understood that He alone is my life and truth; He gave everything to save a sinner like me. I deserved no mercy and grace, yet He loved me and died on the cross and rose again after three days. He was now my Lord Jesus Christ. After a few days, I informed my friends and believers at the church about my newfound faith and decided to be baptized, according to the command given by the Lord Jesus. My baptism took place after 7 months (September 2011). I could see God’s hand in my life. His eyes were on me even before I was born (Psalm 139:13-16). He shaped the circumstances in such a way that I had a chance to hear the good news about Jesus Christ. Not only did God save me from my sins, but He also protected me from all wrong influence and kept me safe in a metropolitan city like Delhi.
 
I informed my parents about my faith; they were shocked. They started abusing all Christians, accusing them of brainwashing me for financial gain. My brothers turned totally against me; this was the beginning of many continuing troubles regarding my faith. Another intense struggle with my family started: In traditional Indian families, the parents choose the spouse for their children. Marrying from the same caste, religion and even state is considered essential to maintain the honor of the family. My parents and brothers resumed searching for a Hindu Brahmin husband for me with renewed zeal. At the same time, the Bible is clear that followers of Christ should only marry other disciples (2 Corinthians 6:14). I was not willing to go astray and fall into the hands of Satan by disobeying God and marrying a non-believer. Although the Bible asks us to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12), there is also the principle of obeying God rather than men (Acts 5:29) when people demand that we disobey God. After all, everything my parents did for me was possible only because God gave them the ability! So I was primarily accountable to Him rather than them. 
 
Since my family members were orthodox and staunch Brahmins, it was extremely difficult for me to take such a stand. No one in my family has ever gone against our traditions before! My family members stopped talking to me. They cursed me, even questioning why I was ever born. My brothers wanted me dead, saying that I had no right to live. My father issued a statement saying that if I married a believer in Christ, I will be boycotted from the family and should never show my face to them or visit them. It was a very tough phase I went through, but I trusted the Lord Jesus day by day and He kept me going. God has promised us that even our parents and our own people may disown us but He will never forsake us or leave us (Isaiah 49:15, Psalm 27:10). Drawing confidence in God’s promise with continuous prayer, I took the bold step to refuse my parents and marry a believer according to God’s leading.

It had been my secret prayer that God would let me marry someone who I already knew. God showed me a fine young man from a good family. God’s answer came through a marriage proposal brought by one of the elders of my church; my prospective husband was none other than Blesson Das, the younger brother of my friend Solomon Das and brother-in-law of my best friend Seema. I had never imagined that my husband would be from the family of my best friends who shared the word of God with me! Blesson and I started praying for each other and I had a peace for him that I never had before for any other man. Blesson’s family talked to my parents but they did not agree and said no. In some or the other way they wanted this marriage not to happen. They tempted me with a proposal from a very rich family, and then with a man who was a doctor (in India, doctors are considered “dream matches” because of their high social status and earning capacity). I refused and announced my final decision. All of them refused to come to my wedding and to provide any help.

I was part of the Mayur Vihar assembly in Delhi and God prepared all the elders and other members of the assembly to stand with me as my family. They helped me in every way. So on September 14, 2014, Blesson and I were married in Bhopal. Blesson’s family welcomed me as a daughter. I could see God’s hand in everything being arranged well and every need being fulfilled.

By the will of God we are settled in Dehradun and are having good fellowship with Bethel assembly. God brought me back to the place from where I ran away a few years back, the place where I learned about our LORD and Saviour. God has blessed me with a loving, caring and God-fearing husband, and given me a family full of good relatives who used to be my wonderful friends, and my sweetest mother-in law, who is rather a mother to me.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, please keep praying for my family that God may melt my parent’s heart and open their eyes to see the truth. Continuously remember Blesson and me in prayer that we both as a couple may be useful to do God’s work and may grow more and more in faith and in God’s word.              

If you are not a Biblical Christian, I urge you to turn to the living God, the God of the Bible, through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. An eternity of regret and torment awaits those who refuse to surrender to the true God. No matter how entrenched you are outside God’s fold, He will draw you to Him if only you will seek Him sincerely. He does not force anyone.