Cheriyan Mathew

A Testimony of God’s Deliverance”

Cheriyan Mathew

       I can say that it was in 1994 and 1995 that God wrought the most number of miraculous changes in my life. It was in 1994 that God made me sober after years of fighting alcoholism, and it was in the year 1995 that God showed us the way to Bethel Baptist Church. It was here that God convicted us of our sin and the need for a savior. We accepted Jesus as our savior, got baptized, and became members of the church in the same year.

After I became sober in 1994, God had put a thirst to know what the Bible had to say. I started reading the Bible and buying books on the Bible. On Easter Day of 1995, it was my Dad who told me about BBC. I went with my family for the Easter Service. Pastor Ken was preaching. He was preaching from a passage in the Bible and was explaining it verse by verse and how it applied to our lives. This was exactly what I was looking for. I was there with my family for all services after that. Soon after that we went for the church camp. That was our family’s first church camp There we experienced the special love of our church family. That is when I noticed that I was the only one smoking among all these people. God gave me easy victory over that bondage too. It is strange that I was able to give up smoking without any struggle at all.

When I look back to those early days twelve years seem to have gone by rather quickly. After my marriage in 1986 till I became sober and came to know the Lord, my life was a roller coaster ride into self destruction. I thought all my problems were solved when my family and I came to know the Lord. But God had some other plans for me.

At that time I knew that God had given me His Spirit and that I must worship Him in spirit and in truth. I brought down the pictures of Jesus which my parents had so reverentially put up in my business place. I did not think that it would cause such a ruckus not only with my parents but my workers, who had stood by me during my drinking days. Some of them left me. Soon after that a multinational company opened right across from my store and that was the beginning of the end for my business. People commented that it was because God was angry and getting back at me as I had shown disrespect to him by taking down his pictures which I used to garland every day. By that time I had learned enough from the Bible to believe that I do not have to fear anything if I am obedient to His Word. Not long after that I had to close down my business. It was a very traumatic time for us.

Meanwhile Baptist Seminary of South India opened its regular program. I was being called by God to be His worker. My father was running another business. He and all my family members encouraged me to go for seminary studies. My father said “you study in the seminary for 2 years; I will take care of your needs”. When that was settled I saw a clear way open for me to join the seminary. I got my application forms. Meanwhile that year Church camp was at Masinagudi and we were headed there. We were two days into the camp when I received a call from my mum asking me to return to Bangalore as dad was seriously ill. When I came back with my family I saw that my Dad was in the ICU. The doctors had given very little hope for his survival. Something told me this was not right. If something happened to my Dad I would then be the sole breadwinner for the family and that would dash all hopes of a seminary education. But if that were to be so, then why would God bring me so far? I don’t think I now have the faith I had in those initial years. I filled up my application did my test and joined the seminary. After a few days dad was shifted from the ICU to the ward and then to my home. We looked after him for 2 months after which he recuperated so well he went back to do his business.

I finished seminary in the year 2001; the graduation ceremony went off very well. Then came the big question. I had a family to feed, my Dad’s promise of two years was up. He could possibly take care of us for some more time. My family and I prayed fervently for God to show us a way. That is when the Seminary in which I studied called me to be a part of them and work as their Business Manager.

Meanwhile both my sons Mathew and Jacob came to know the Lord. Now both my children are also members of BBC and they love the Lord. As children of a former alcoholic they have come a long way. Thanks to the teachings in the Church, Sunday School and the Youth group.

My gratitude to God and my Church has no bounds. Before I started drinking at the age of 16 I was not comfortable with myself, there was a vacuum. I filled it with alcohol, I can say I seemingly had some relief in the initial years, and then it started destroying me and my family. But when I came to know my Lord, BBC was exactly where I wanted to be. I have come to the place of my rest.

I thank my Pastor Ken, Pastor Aroop, Pastor Nelson, interim pastor Saji and all others who have taught me His word. I thank my wife Asha who endured much pain and suffering because of me, but still remained faithful. God has rewarded her endurance with a new life which is anchored in Him.

I love Psalm 40. It gives a glimpse on how God deals with people like me. As it says in vs. 5:

Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.

Yes, they would be too many to declare the wonders He is doing every day in my life to draw me closer to HIM.

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