By Mark Ellis
Sameer was born and raised in a fanatic Muslim family. He strictly followed the practices of Islam and prayed five times a day.
Beset by hardships in his life, he prayed a heartfelt prayer one day: “I am facing so many problems in my own personal life and family life. I don’t know how to overcome it. Please hear my prayer, answer me and help me to come out from all my troubles.”
In his late twenties, his problems intensified and he combatted depression. He hated life. He battled insomnia and suicidal thoughts. Friends supplied him with sedatives, which he crushed and mixed with dagga to smoke in a dagga pipe. The wild dagga leaves are said to have a mild calming effect when smoked. In some users, the effects are similar to marijuana, but it is less potent. However, it was not enough to cure his insomnia, so he began to inject it. Soon he became a drug addict and alcoholic.
Drugs satisfied him for a short time, but as his tolerance built up he was always looking for his next fix. A life devoted to drugs, alcohol, and promiscuous relationships masked his depression, but deep inside it was still there. A dark cloud followed him wherever he went.
One day Sameer became despondent after a relationship soured with a “vulgar” young woman. Suicidal thoughts overwhelmed him. He found a rope and a tree to hang himself. Little did he realize the tree was within earshot of an outdoor evangelistic meeting led by Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast.
As Sameer clambered up the tree to tie the rope, he heard Pastor Paul preaching this message through a loudspeaker: “The man who is going to commit suicide, you don’t have to die, for our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified and died for you and will grant you peace and life. He died as a ransom for your sins and was raised from the dead to glorify you as His child. If you believe in Jesus you will be saved from sin, iniquities and all of your problems.”
The message pierced his heart. Curious, wanting to know more, he climbed down from the tree and walked toward the meeting. People who knew about Sameer’s reputation were afraid when they saw him. They knew him to be a fanatic Muslim, an alcoholic, and they saw the rope in his hand.
Pastor Paul had converted from Islam to Christianity. Some jumped to the conclusion Sameer was coming to attack the preacher. Several men tried to grab Sameer, but Pastor Paul intervened and asked him to come up to the platform.
Sameer explained what happened and asked for prayers. Pastor Paul told him more about Jesus and Sameer got down on his knees in front of everyone. Other pastors joined in and they put their hands on Sameer’s head and prayed.
As they prayed, Sameer had an unusual, God-inspired vision. In his vision he was like a sheep caught in a thicket, about to be attacked by wild animals. He thought his life was over. Suddenly Jesus appeared as the Good Shepherd, saved him from the wild beasts, freed him from the bramble of thorns and carried him on His shoulders.
Jesus transported him a long distance until they reached a sheepfold, surrounded by a beautiful, strong wall. In the vision Jesus said to him, “You are my child. I have marked you upon my palms as your Savior. Be my witness.”
Sameer cried out to Great Shepherd of the sheep: “Lord I accept you as my Savior. I will be your witness.”
Within a few days he was baptized. Now he is witnessing for his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as an evangelist with Bibles for Mideast.
Many of us can relate with the despair that Sameer felt in his life before Christ. Some turn to drugs, others alcohol, sex, food or some other distraction. Some even turn to suicide. Often this despair is brought on by the false hope of lost love, broken promises and dreams and can be magnified by an empty ritualistic religious life.
Are you experiencing a time of darkness in your life just now? If so, then let me encourage you to reach out and take hold of the hand of the One who sees in the dark. Feel the warmth of His love, the safety of His protection. Be still and listen as He reminds you of His promise to guide your steps and light your path.
He guides us in Proverbs 3:5, 6 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
And He protects us in Mathew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
He loves us in John 3:16, For God so loved the world, He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever would believe, should not perish, but have everlasting life. Then calls us in Romans 10:9, “confess with your mouth, that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved.” If you’ve never done that before, or if you need to recommit your life to God, then ask Him now in a prayer like this:
Please forgive my sinful ways. I recognize that I have been on the wrong path and need your forgiveness. I have ignored your Son Jesus and all that He has done for me. Please come into my life today and help me to live my life for you. I want to be assured of an eternal life in heaven. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
Congratulations, if you have prayed this prayer the Bible says, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9-11
If you’ve prayed this prayer for the first time or are renewing your commitment to the Lord, please let us know so that we can pray for you as you start your new life with Jesus…and don’t forget to tell everyone about His love.