Part One: The Healing
The girls and I were walking in a marketplace near our guesthouse when Sofie saw a picture of a green bubble jacket and heard the words, “back pain”. We started to head home when she saw a man in a green bubble jacket and the Holy Spirit confirmed it was him. We crossed the road to talk to him and make sure he was the one Sofie was thinking about. She straight up asked if he had any back pain. He looked shocked and mildly uncomfortable, probably because it wasn’t a regular occurrence for a group of five abnormally excited girls to surround him with tangible expectancy for what was going to happen next.
We had good reason to be excited because God was going to move in this man’s life. He looked at us apprehensively and then said, “yes”. I for one breathed a sigh of relief when we realized he spoke English perfectly because we didn’t have any translators with us at the time. We told him there was a God who would heal his pain if Suraj wanted him to. He said that yes, he did want to be healed. We asked if we could put our hands on his back and after he gave us permission, we started praying. I’m not quite sure how long the praying went on for but it felt very short because all of a sudden he jumped around and said, “How did you do that?!” We asked him to clarify what he meant and if he had any more pain, and he exclaimed that he had no more pain in his back!
He asked about what happened and how we were able to take away his pain. We made it clear that it was not us but that instead, Jesus was the one who healed him.
That’s when the barrage of questions came flooding out of his mouth. It felt like he was asking questions quicker than we could answer them. He was throwing out complex theological questions, ones I at least wasn’t prepared to answer. He was a hungry seeker of the truth. He wasn’t asking to try to see if he could catch us in confusion in order to discredit Christianity but instead, he genuinely wanted answers. He was hungry for the answers, outright starving! It was a long time of Suraj asking question after question before we had to leave because we weren’t supposed to be out after dark. Sofie got his number and asked if we could take him to coffee and answer more of his questions on a different day, and he said yes!
Part Two: The Seeking
A few weeks later, Sofie, Chris and I went to meet Suraj at a cafe to answer more of his questions and follow up with him. As we walked over to the cafe Suraj wanted to meet at, we prayed over the Bible in his native language that we had brought just in case he wanted one for himself. We asked God to anoint our words, for the Holy Spirit to guide us in answering all of Suraj’s questions, and that God would allow us to be used as vessels in whatever way He wanted.
We got there and waited. And waited, and waited some more. We were having doubts about whether Suraj would show up after waiting two hours for him. Every time the door opened our eyes would dart over to see if it was him. Finally, he walked through the door and I know we all were extremely relieved even though we tried not to show it too much.
We pulled him up a chair and dived right in. We started with learning more about his life: his family, job, and history. We didn’t want him to think we were only interested in telling him about Jesus because that’s not true! We wanted to get to know him and to make sure he felt valued as an individual. We asked how his back was and what the initial injury had been to cause his pain. He said he hadn’t had any more pain since the night God had healed him a couple weeks before! He then went on to describe a horrific motorcycle accident three years ago that left him with scars on his face and chronic back pain up until the moment God healed him.
We were so happy to hear that his pain was completely gone. It made more sense to me why he spun around and incredulously asked, “How did you do that?” It was because nothing had helped his back pain in three years. After hearing more of his story, Suraj’s healing meant a great deal more to me because I had a greater understanding of how much this healing meant in Suraj’s own life.
Finally, we got down to business: the plethora of questions he had. Once again he started grilling us about many different topics. I felt a little pressure at first, worried that I wouldn’t have sufficient answers and would let not only Suraj down but God as well for not representing Him properly. What I realized after about 20 minutes is that the pressure wasn’t on me and that all we could do was answer his questions and best as we could. The Bible is inspired by God, and because of that, the Holy Spirit was already at work in Suraj. We were quick to admit whenever we didn’t have the answer to one of his questions, but that we would try to answer as best as we could.
This time we helped him to find the answers in the Bible himself. We showed him how to find the reference for a specific verse and he quickly learned how to check the index and find the page of the book he was looking for. It was quite the scene with Suraj and his new Bible in his language, Sofie and her Norwegian Bible, and Chris and I with our English Bibles all spread out on this table!
We would find an answer in one of our Bibles and then tell him the reference and he would meticulously thumb through the pages until he found the page where the verse was. This was an important moment for me because it showed the power of the Word, and its ability to captivate a reader. It was great to see how he was gaining confidence in himself as he read more and more verses, as he was finding the answers to his own questions! After a few hours of being with him, he didn’t have any more questions. We asked him what he was thinking and he said, “I am going to read the Bible because I want to know the truth about Jesus”.
My heart soared because I knew what he would find: the only God who loves him, healed him, and died for him. I knew he’d find the truth.