I was 20 years old and did not believe in the existence of God and mocked religion. One day, I went to a cathedral with my friends during mass.
The moment of receiving communion was approaching. Together, we stepped forward, knelt down, and opened our mouths in front of the priest to eat the holy bread.
Before we entered the cathedral, we smoked some marijuana, so we treated all of it as a joke. We went outside the church and burst into laughter.
Two years passed, and I had started painting. My parents paid for the rent of a small room in an attic, where I set up my own art studio. One day, after I finished an artwork, I sat on the floor to relax. I poured some solvent into a pouch and planned on inhaling it.
I had barely started when I suddenly felt the need to bow down. I did not think about it, nor did I know who I was worshiping. I did not understand it, so I just followed my heart.
When I straightened up, I suddenly heard the question, who are you bowing to? Astonished, I replied, “My own wisdom!” I did not want anyone to take credit for my glory.
When I said this, I saw a figure standing a few feet away, who turned slowly away from me with the intention of leaving. It was like a fog from another dimension, and it gave me the impression that it was grieving. “Let it go,” I thought.
Suddenly, from within the center of my soul came the cry of someone who was tormented and terrified, “No! Don’t go!” My mind was in complete shock, and for a moment, I tried to locate the voice. However, before I could process it, something began to happen.
The light began to spread rapidly all over the studio. After a while, it became so intense that I cringed in fear. “Do not be afraid,” said a gentle but powerful voice. I had no doubt that it belonged to the most powerful person in the universe. It was obvious to me.
Obediently, I straightened my back, still sitting on the floor. From the corner of my eye, I saw two glowing hands approaching my temples. As the hands touched my skin, a stream of light began to pour into me and a huge burden was taken from my soul.
I did not realize that I had it in me all this time; the light-filled me completely. It was such an extraordinary experience that there is no way even to come close to describing its magnificence.
For the first time in my life, I felt fulfilled, entirely happy, accepted, loved, and full of peace and exalted joy.
I knew that I had met with God, so a little worried, I asked the question, “Will I have to go to church now?” To me, attending mass seemed so boring and lifeless. I heard a few people laughing.
“No,” said the voice kindly, “It will not be necessary.” I sighed in relief. Although I was ready to do it now, I was glad that God is clearly not a very religious person.
The whole experience was amazing, and it certainly was not a vision caused by the inhalation of the solvent vapors, because it changed my life forever and profoundly, which no drug would be able to do.
The following week, I felt like I was floating above the ground. I rediscovered what life and its beauty are. The beauty of nature delighted me. It was great. I was aware that I received God's grace.
However, after a few days, another voice started to speak to me, “Are you sure that inhaling the solvent vapors is contrary to God's will? Is there anything wrong with that? After all, thanks to this, you had this extraordinary revelation. It helped you open yourself to God!”
I began to wonder. “Well,” I thought, “if I find another bottle of solvent in the basement, it will mean that God does not mind.” I went down to the basement. It was there. The last bottle. I took it and immediately went to the studio. In the dim light, I began to inhale the solvent.
It turned out, however, that it did not work. To experience the effects, I continued. Then, I had a vision. I saw a ball of light onto which dirty slops were poured, and they ran down. But they were like water off a duck’s back, unable to extinguish it in any way.
I took a deep breath, “Don’t do this! Stop it; you still have time!” All of a sudden, the paintings leaning against the walls of the studio came to life. It seemed to me that they had hearts that beat violently and were filled with great fear.
At some point, time seemed to have stopped. The scoop shed. The voice told me to straighten my back. This time, it was not a joyful experience.
The hands touched my temples again, and this time, I felt a huge weight fall on me. I sank to the floor. I had a deep realization of the sin I had just committed, of the incredible foolishness and the wasting of God's great grace.
I regretted it so much that I could barely take it. From the heights of glory, I tumbled to the bottom of despair. I fell asleep.
In the morning, I cried achingly for many hours. I had never felt that way before. However, God had not given up on me. At one point, I even felt that he was standing next to me and crying with me.
In those few days, I fell into sin, but God forgave me and lifted me up. Soon, he led a man to me who gave me a few books about God and led me to a small Pentecostal community where I immediately felt at home.
Today, after almost thirty years, I still love God, and I am more and more impressed by Him. I experienced many wonderful moments with Him, and in many difficult moments, I received His help.
I have a wonderful wife and son. I know where I will be after death: in Heaven! I am also sure that God will never leave me and He will always help me with any difficult situation that still awaits me in this world.
If you want to know Him, turn to Him and tell Him about it. God loves you, no matter who you are. Jesus died on the cross to pay the price of your sins and to open the way to the Father in heaven.
For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, that everyone who believes in Him would not perish, but would have eternal life. God did not send His Son into the world to give judgment, but that the world would be saved through Him. (John 3: 16-17 The New Covenant NP)