I was born in a small town in Algeria and into a family with six Children. France occupied my native country. My Parents were unschooled and were Muslims. So I was a Muslim by birth. I was told that as an infant, I was so sick the doctor gave me two days to live but God had other plans for me. No, I did not die. At a very young age, my parents enrolled me in a religious school where I learned to memorize the Koran. As a family and individually, we suffered a lot under the French occupation. My father was jailed many times, even one time when my eldest brother was forced to leave home to serve in the French army for mandatory service, my family spent several months without a provider. We were even forced to leave our hometown and move elsewhere.
One day during the Algerian civil war, while I was playing soccer with my friends, we were shot at. Many died but I only suffered a bullet wound. God had other plans for me. While at the hospital, I saw many people suffer and die daily and nightly. I was angry with God and Westerners. However, Algeria became independent and I was very happy. Still serious about my faith as a Muslim and now in High School, I began to devote more time to it. I was an example to many students.
Life without the French occupation settled in, yet things did not change. My country was free and so was I but I was unhappy and felt a void in my life. Some people call it an identity crisis. Maybe it was an identity crisis but for me I needed to connect to that one missing thing or a person. I needed to understand why I was born, and when I die, where I will be. Slowly I became a nominal Muslim and later actually thought that God did not exist. I also joined a local communist underground student movement. While still in High School, I started reading, studying philosophers, and also drinking, smoking and doing shameful things too embarrassing to talk about. I felt confused and lost. My major was Mathematics, so naturally I read some writings by Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician. In his so-called “Pascal wager”, Pascal talks about whether God is or God is not. Though Pascal argues from a gambling point of view, I was convinced that for me this was no gamble or coincidence. This latter fact increased my desire to seek God.
I finished School and came to the US to further my studies. I was very skeptical of strangers because of the scars of the French occupation. But God had plans for me. God gave me a Christian host family who befriended me and invited me to their home and to their Church. One day, I heard Dr. Mark Hanna, a Christian Lebanese writer, speak about Jesus Christ. I was not receptive but heard new things about this Jesus from Nazareth.
Later I learned that my mother died. I was very close to her and could not accept her sudden departure from my life. Having lost my mother and having failed in other areas of my life, I was hurting, miserable, tired and fed up. I wanted to end my life. As if someone was talking to me, words came to me saying, “you want to end your life, then consider it done and give your life up to Jesus”. I heard and read in a Bible given to me, who Jesus is and what He did for me on the cross. Someone suggested I start reading from the book of John. I understood I was a sinner and needed God in my life. I turned to Jesus, believing He died for me, was buried, rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. I prayed inviting Him into my life and I received Him in my heart as my personal savior and Lord.
I came to chapter 6 of the book of Romans and realized I needed to be baptized. After receiving instructions in a class from an elder on Communion and Baptism, I was baptized by full immersion two weeks later. God did it all. It was all His doing and nothing I had done on my own except to seek Him, repent and accept His free gift of salvation.
You know, I did not fully realize what happened to me until I came across Ezekiel 36:25-27. God also helped me deal with many other issues and things I could not understand on my own. Knowing who God is and who I am, my desire has been to live for Christ by loving Him, obeying Him and serving Him. It is my prayer to be used by Him “Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” 1 Timothy 2:4 (NKJV).
I also came across Jeremiah 29:11 (NAS) where God says: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. You see He has given me hope and a future. He had plans for me. Friend, God has plans for you too. My prayer for you is that you seek Him with all your heart. This is for your sake not mine and certainly not for God’s sake. He is waiting for you.
Jesus says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me” John 14:6 (NKJV). The Bible says: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 (NKJV). Jesus also says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16 (NKJV).
I urge you to turn to God now and give your life to Him. I am here to help you, please do not hesitate to write.
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May God bless you today.