A MIRACLE IN THE CAMPUS
(A TRUE STORY OF HOW GOD CAN TRANSFORM LIVES)
Early Childhood (grew up in Godly environment 1967-1981)
I was born and brought up in a very good Christian family marked with regular family devotions, church attendance etc. My father desired that I should become a great preacher and so he named me as “Herme” (mentioned in one of the books of the Bible Viz. Acts, chapter 14 and verse12), the name the people of Lystra and Derbe gave to Paul the Apostle, meaning Chief Speaker. I grew up in a very strict parental discipline and we were not allowed to see movies and do the things that other kids would do. Even when we were ill-treated and at times beaten up by other kids, my father never used to scold them but would instruct us to forgive them. Because of this reason I had been bottling up all my evil sinful desires and also the feelings of resentment towards my childhood enemies and as such I was looking for an opportunity to express myself. Even though I was very much involved in Christian activities right from my childhood days, I could not see any reason for doing the things I did and I thought Christianity is just a religion like other religions.
Turned out to be ungodly (away from home 1981 – 83)
After my schooling, I took up college education. This was a bit away from home and paved the way for my self-expression (in terms of evil sinful desires) and self-assertion (in terms of gaining power) and soon I joined in college politics. I developed more enemies on account of my involvement in the politics and as such pursuing my education peacefully became a nightmare. This happened within a period of 3 months after joining the college. I started contemplating the search for avenues to leave this college and go to another. Soon I applied for a Diploma course in Electrical Engineering in a place called Nellore, 50 kms away from my hometown. I secured a seat and joined the college with a strong determination to lead a calm, quiet and godly life. Soon I forgot all my resolutions and began to lead an ungodly life as I was totally away from home not to be observed by my parents. It did not take much time before I began to smoke, go to movies and etc… etc. Once again I plunged into student political arena by joining a student party named Akila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) which is the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). I also stopped going to church. If I were to express in a nutshell about my life. I can identify myself with the words of Malcolm Muggeridge when he said, “If God is dead, somebody is going to have to take his place. It will be megalomania or erotomania, the drive for power or the drive for pleasure, the clenched fist or the phallus, Hitler or Hugh Heffner”. The only exception in my case being it is not the question of either / or but, it is both, in private life seeking pleasure and in public life seeking power.
I came to my senses (1983-86)
When I came to my senses, I began to realise that neither my pursuit for pleasure nor the pursuit for power would give me the ultimate and lasting satisfaction as I now realised the truth of Pascal’s words “There is a God shaped vaccum in every human heart which can only be filled by God”. I also became a slave to sinful habits and upon realisation of their consequences, I desperately tried to be free in my own strength, each time, only to realise that I don’t have the power to set myself free from the enslavement of sin. My struggle to be good in my own strength can be best expressed in the poem written by Studdert Kennedy.
It is not finished Lord
There is not one thing done
There is no battle of my life
That I have really won
And now I come to tell thee
How I fought to fail
My human, all too human tale
Of weakness and futility.
My predicament also had adverse effect on my studies. One day (i.e. on 12-02-1983), when I was introspecting my own life, the following truths forcefully came to my mind and I was thoroughly convicted of these truths.
(i) I am a sinner (Romans 3:23 : There is no difference, all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God -Bible)
(ii) I am heading towards eternal hell and destruction as a result of my sins (Romans 3: 26 – Bible -The wages of Sin is death, the death being eternal death or hell.)
Hell is a place, which I never wanted to go but hell seemed to be inevitable destiny as a consequence for my sins. My frustrated self efforts to overcome sin made me to realise and appreciate the freedom from sin and forgiveness of sins Jesus Christ offers because of his vicarious death on the cross and victorious resurrection from the dead and through new birth. It is at this point, I confessed all my sins to Jesus Christ and received the forgiveness of sins in accordance with I John 1:9 (Bible). If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness, and escaped the eternal hell and destruction. How true are the words of A.W. Tozer! Penned in his book “Man the dwelling place of God”:
“The man who is seriously convinced that he deserves to go to hell is not likely to go there. While the man who believes he is worthy of going to heaven certainly will never enter that blessed place”.
A miracle in the Campus
My life became a miracle in the campus. There was a tremendous change in my life, self-sacrifice replaced self-assertion, the fetters of sin were broken by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, slowly I withdrew myself from the political scene, the life transforming power of God became evident to others. Slowly queries poured in asking the reason for this spectacular change which gave me an opportunity to witness for the life transforming power of Lord Jesus Christ. Subsequently, I successfully finished my Diploma in Electrical Engineering. Later, I completed by Bachelor’s Degree from Regional Engineering college Warangal. Presently I am working as Deputy Director(Planning & Power Procurement) in Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission, India.