I Was Dead but Now I Live

by | May 28, 2001 | Persecution, Salvation

I am the seventh child out of fourteen. We live in one of I the poor, densely populated areas, where Muslims and Christians live together. I grew up in a Muslim family. My father worked hard to make ends meet, working day and night to earn a living. We boys used to spend most of our time hanging around on the streets. Hunger would motivate us, in many cases, to steal loaves of bread or bottles of milk that had been distributed early in the morning in front of the closed shops.

As a child, I was not fond of education. Before long, I was kicked out of school. I still remember very well a pious Christian lady who used to gather the children off the street to give them Sunday school lessons. She used to teach us about the love of Jesus Christ for all people, show us spiritu­al films, and read us passages from the Bible. At the end of the meeting, she would give us candy and drinks. She treated us very kindly and gently; therefore, we would feel ashamed of ourselves had we done anything improper before her!

There were no children’s activities provided by cultural institutions or clubs, only that loving lady. As a boy, I enjoyed the Christian festivals on Christmas and Easter. They were joyful occasions for me.

After being kicked out of school, I started to work as a laborer in the seaport and some other places. Yet I was living in a big vacuum. It was a terrible vacuum. I was lonely with no friends or companions to care for me. I was brought up in a family with one foundation-the love of money. I was materialistic. I was enslaved by money.

Being kicked out of school had a negative effect on me. I took refuge in alcohol to forget my problems. I tried to find solutions in gambling and drinking. I saw life in terms of having fun and collecting money. My brothers joined the trades and started to make good money; I was green with envy so I decided to start my own business. I managed to open a small shop, and money knew its way to my pockets, but I had no peace or tranquility.

I felt a deadly emptiness for six years. Family problems began to surface. My brothers and sisters had marital problems, my father grew old, and my mother fell ill. All the problems rested on my shoulders. In 1982 I was up to my ears in debt. All the constant pressures of the various prob­lems led me to a severe depression. Finally I collapsed in 1986.

Looking back at my life before the collapse, I realize I was an alcoholic. Between 1982 and 1984, I drank heavily and frantically. In 1984, I traveled to France to get treatment for severe psychological problems. I was treated for a month and then returned home. I was shocked to find the shop and the business I established completely demolished.

In August 1986, I began to feel a terrible pain in my stomach and other parts of my body. I became unconscious and had to be hospitalized. I was in a serious condition; the mechanism in my body nearly stopped. For over two weeks, my friends and relatives visited me in the hospital, expect­ing me to die soon. One of them was a Christian clergyman. I still remember him for his love and humility. Some other Christian friends also visited me and prayed for me.

At this time, the nurses went on strike in my hospital and they had to get rid of the patients who were not seriously ill. I, however, had to remain in the hospital. After seven teen days of medical treatment, I became hysterical, jumping out of bed and attacking all those around me. I cut the oxygen tubes and soon lost consciousness. Physicians thought that my end was coming.

Doctors examined me and after an hour they decided that I was dead! They called my family to come in order to issue my death certificate. While I was in that condition, I saw an intense light touching me, and I heard a voice three times saying, “Stand up!” I saw the person of Jesus Christ. He appeared to me through that great light.

My family brought a casket to take my apparently dead body from the hospital. Whatever my condition, weak or dead, after Jesus appeared to me, life surged into my body and I recovered. When doctors came and saw me, they were shocked. They wrote a medical report and described my case as “a very rare, freak, inexplicable case”! I am sure it was Jesus Christ who restored me to life. He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

I left the hospital in a feeble condition, but I was newly born, for I came to believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I told Him, “Lord, if You want to give me life, let it be for the glory of Your name.” I became, once again, childlike. I began to see everything from a new viewpoint. I wanted to be with Christian brothers. When I walked on the street, people would point at me and say, “He was dead but now he lives.”

In fact, the Lord Jesus has changed my life. One day I was walking by a book­store. After some hesitation, I knocked. A gentle lady opened the door and wel­comed me in. Among the other books, I saw a Bible. I remembered the Christian lady who used to teach us at Sunday school classes when I was a boy. I thought this lady might know something about her, so I asked. She said, “Of course, I know her. She is in a nursing home, although she may be dead by now.”

I decided to visit her the following day. I entered the place to see a woman sleeping on a chair. I remembered the songs of Sunday school, and I started to sing. She opened her eyes and asked, “Who are you?”

I answered, “I am Sayed. Do you remember me? It was thirty-five years ago.” I told her my story and how I became a Christian.

She said, “Great, but be careful, Sayed. Be faithful in your life with the Lord!”

I started my walk by putting my faith in Jesus Christ. I started to read the Bible and experience real life with the Lord. I was so thirsty. I used to read to quench my thirst with the Word of Life. With all my weaknesses and shortcomings, I could see the Lord restoring me. It was God who gave us the promise, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He also said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in dark­ness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Experiential fellowship with God is really great. When I sought God, I had an unimaginable inner peace filling my innermost being. I can really identify with the father who said about his prodigal son, “`For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:24).

I once was dead, but now I am alive; I once was lost, but now I am found.


Used by permission In The Den of Infidels The Voice of the Martyrs www.persecution.com , p. 67-71.


I Was Dead but Now I Live