Flunking out of engineering at Pepperdine College, Shah Afshar contemplated suicide as he faced the fact that he was failing his family in Iran.
“The pressure of trying to make it, being the oldest son in the family, and trying to make an honorable name for myself and thus bring honor to my family, I very nearly committed suicide, because I was bringing shame to my family,” he said.
But Shah, whose full name is Shahrokh, fell in with a group of ex-hippies.
“They had two things that were very lacking in my life. They had peace and joy,” he said. “When I asked them, ‘what makes you different?’ They told me, ‘We’ve become born-again.’ They were followers of Jesus Christ.
“Of course, that really offended me, coming from a Muslim background. I began to argue with them because I believed I had Mohammad, the greatest and the last prophet in the world. Who were they to tell me that a second-class prophet named Jesus was better?
“But I couldn’t deny the fact that they had something I didn’t have,” he added. “And as long as I was around them, I could experience the peace.”
Because Islam was deeply ingrained in his life, he retrenched and became a devout Muslim. But the suicidal broodings haunted him everywhere – except when he hung out with the Christians.
“They continued to love me and accept me,” he said. “And they would take me to their Bible studies – where I would never understand what is going on. I kept going because I couldn’t deny the fact that they had something I didn’t have.”
He was invited to a Thanksgiving dinner. The father prayed for the food. “That really touched me,” he said.
On the way home, Shah cried out to God.
“Look at me, I’ve tried Mohammad, I’ve tried Ali, but I want to kill myself today,” he said. “Then I said, ‘Jesus, if you’re really who these people tell me you are, I’ll accept you if you give me good grades in school.
“I had no idea who Jesus was. I didn’t believe he was the Son of God. I didn’t believe he was divine. I certainly didn’t believe he died on the cross. I just knew that if anyone could get me out of the mess, it would be him. I had nothing to lose. So I called on him.”
Part of accepting Jesus was a condition. “I said, ‘Jesus, I’ll follow you if you give me good grades in school.” It was a “feeble and theologically wrong” prayer, but God met Shah at the encounter.
A month later, he was expelled from college, but he still Read the rest about Iranian Christians.