'My dad died, and I longed for a forever dad'
Assumpta’s story | The cost and joy of following Jesus
“I grew up in a Hindu Brahmin family. Brahmins are the highest Hindu caste. We moved to Australia when I was seven years old. My family were high achieving and academic.
Being Brahmin, we were suspicious of Christianity. My parents would tell me that Christians were bad for India because they were trying to upset the order of things by converting people into their religion. It meant I was largely hostile to Christianity.
But then my dad suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack when I was 16 years old. I remember thinking he was so accomplished, so well regarded. He had achieved so much, and then he dropped dead. I started thinking, What is the point of life? Is life meaningless? If it is meaningless, then why would I continue to live? As far as I could understand, life was suffering.
“I remember thinking, I wish I had a forever dad.”
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So I made a promise to myself at 16 that I would seek truth and find it. At that time, I assumed it would be found in a series of rules, doctrines, pujas, rituals or mantras.
I also remember crying at night. I missed my father so much. I remember thinking, I wish I had a forever dad – someone who never went away.
That longing for a forever dad, as well as my desire to find the meaning of life, began to form in me an idea of an eternal kind of relationship. I didn’t know where to find it, but the seeds were sown.
“I didn’t know what it was, I just remember waking up and thinking it was strange.”
Around the same time, I went to mandatory Scripture at school. I remember the teacher telling us the Gospel and having this weird feeling that it might be true.
Not long after that, I had a series of dreams. I saw hell as a place of greyness and a lack of common grace. Heaven was a place of blinding clarity and beauty and joy and happiness. Of course, at the time I didn’t know what it was, I just remember waking up and thinking it was strange.
Then my friend gave me a Bible, and she suggested I read the Gospel of Luke. I read it and immediately fell in love with Jesus. He was amazing! I wondered why the Christians hadn’t told me about this guy. I loved him so much.
But then I also read that Jesus said he was God, which was weird. I remember saying to God, “Is there any way I can follow Jesus without being a Christian?”
“The cost of following Jesus was so high.”
Of course, God said no! So I pushed it away. Over time, I realised I’d been searching for the truth and the truth could only be found in Christ. The problem was that the cost of following Jesus was so high. I was a Brahmin, which was a great spiritual privilege. When I told my family about the truths I had found in Jesus, the fracture that resulted was devastating. It was a terrible cost.
As well as that, I found going to Christian church a massive culture shock. It was very individualistic with an emphasis on nuclear families. I came in as a single woman, and was disappointed by that. Over time I became angry at God.
For the next ten years, I ran away from God; I abandoned him.
“Being a Hindu, you understand the vastness of God, but you never understand the closeness.”
But you know what happens when you run away from God? Eventually you hit rock bottom. When I hit rock bottom, I thought it would be God’s opportunity to crush and discard me. But he didn’t. God actually rescued me from my situation. I had abandoned him, but he never abandoned me.
One of the things about being a Hindu is that you understand the vastness of God, but you never understand the closeness. When God came close to me and rescued me from my situation, I was never the same again. I realised God loved me. It was a massive revelation that the God of the universe could love someone like me.
I’ve been a Christian for 20 years. It’s very been hard at times. The cost of following Jesus is high. The longer I am a Christian, the more I seem to pay the cost. But also the longer I am a Christian, the more I’m convinced that there is absolutely nowhere else to go. Jesus is totally worth it!”
Assumpta’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.