An Iranian Refugee’s Terrible Journey to God

I survived snowy mountains, a filthy prison, and an abusive husband. Then I discovered who had protected me all along.
An Iranian Refugee’s Terrible Journey to God
Image: Mikael Sjoberg

When Arif marched up to me in church, it was obvious that he was angry. With his eyes narrowed in hate and his long beard trembling with rage, he was incensed that I, a Christian woman, would be trying to convert Muslims. Within seconds Arif was flat on his back as if God had acted supernaturally to get his attention. (This is not an uncommon experience when I witness to Muslims.) It didn’t take long for Arif to break down and start crying, and once he’d opened up his heart to God like that, it was only a matter of time before he turned his back on Islam and gave his life to Jesus. All I had to do was stand to the side and pray.

But not everyone meets God this way. For some, the journey to seeing Jesus as Savior is sudden and dramatic like it was on the road to Damascus. But for others, the journey to faith looks more like the road to Emmaus: a gradual realization that Jesus is closer than the air we breathe.

I know, because that’s exactly how it was with me.

Robbed of Joy

I was born in Iran—beautiful, peaceful Iran. My life was good, and it got even better when I fell in love, got married, and gave birth to my son, Daniel. I was 18 years old with a husband who loved me and a newborn baby we both adored. Even the fact that my country was being overtaken by Islamic revolutionaries couldn’t dampen my joy. Like so many people whose lives feel perfect, I had little appetite for God. But all that was about to change.

Death came like a thief one morning soon after Daniel was born. My husband was killed in a traffic accident, and in an instant my life was robbed of joy. I was in shock. I was in denial. And for the first time in my life, my mind turned to God. I asked, What have I done to deserve this?

In ...

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