“At the end of my rope”. Dmitry Denshikov

“From one man he created all the nations throughout
the whole earth…His purpose in all of this was that the
nations should seek after God and perhaps feel their
way toward him and find him – though he is no far
from any one of us”.
(Acts 17:26-28; NLT)

Here is my testimony

 

In my past I was a very well behaved sinner. Compared to others I was educated, sympathetic and friendly. I was not greedy. I wasn’t a bad guy, but I was a sinner anyway. I was not superstitious; I did not believe in mystics, “black cats,” witchcraft, horoscopes, or UFOs. I believed in tangible things, things that I could see and hold in my hands. I believed in power and I worshiped power. My god was sports. I saw that the world was very brutal and you had to be tough in order to survive. Sport was everything to me. I slept only so I could have enough energy for training, I ate well so I could have enough strength for training. I didn’t drink vodka, nor smoke cigarettes. I didn’t focus on making money and dating girls because it interfered with my training. I lived according to this principle: “Bigger muscles give you more rights.” Later I learned what God thought of it: “Woe to the one who puts his trust in flesh.”

One day I started having pains in my lower back. Medical tests showed that I had a serious spine injury. I could live, but I couldn’t play sports. Everything I had been building crumbled in one instant. One day I was sitting at the table and was about to eat and I couldn’t find any reasons to eat – there was no use in training any longer. At night I had dreams of me sitting in a wheelchair and someone pushing me around. It was awful. But even in such situation I did not turn to God and did not seek Him, even though He was so close to me at that time.

My resistant spirit told me: “You can’t do sports, but you can make money which will buy you everything, even your health.” I changed one idol for another and became a street merchant. I purchased goods wholesale at low prices and sold them with a large markup. Money started rolling in, a lot of money. I tried many sorts of cigarettes and different kinds of wines. I started drinking vodka. Before I knew it, I was addicted to it all.

In those days I indulged my sins and lived a “high life.” My life was in my wallet. I learned that money can do everything. When I heard of God I had just one thought in my head: “You are still young. You did’t try everything in your life yet, death is still far away.” Are we really that far from death? It turned out that death was only a step away.

We were flying home from Vladivostok to Izhevsk. Everyone boarded the plane but it wouldn’t leave the terminal. Flight attendant asked women and children to leave the place because it had been taken hostage by a terrorist. He threatened to blow up the airplane. It’s strange how a person can’t be honest to himself and his conscience even in circumstances like this. Some people acted like little children and some like mad men. They speculated whether we’ll fly to China or Japan. We started counting how many dollars we had and what we could buy in the airport in Japan. Later we found out that the terrorist planned to blow the plane up in midair. He just wanted to die beautifully and take us with him. At that point I realized how close I was to death for the first time in my life. I got scared. I was not ready to meet with the One who was standing on the other side of life, the One who would judge our lives and our deeds.

The whole ordeal ended peacefully. The terrorist was disarmed and no one got hurt. I was OK physically, but something inside of me felt broken. Money and muscles could do nothing in that situation. I realized the depth of my vulnerability.

As it often happens in life, God tries to talk to us and we begin to understand Him and accept His words into our hearts but everyday routine of life distracts us and takes us away from God. Unimportant trivial things take place of what’s most important and significant. It happened to me. When I returned to Izhevsk the hustle and bustle of everyday life overshadowed my thoughts of God, death and sin. I immersed myself in the affairs of running a business and living a life. I forgot absolutely everything! But God always finishes what He starts. I forgot, but He reminded me.

One day a friend of mine and I received a shipment of goods at Balezino train station and we were on our way home to Izhevsk. It got dark. We were making plans for the evening. Despite the pouring rain we were driving at around 80 miles per hour. We were happy and content. All of a sudden, there was a car in our land heading straight at us. My friend sharply turned the steering wheel. We spun 180 degrees and hit a ditch on the opposite side of the road. The car made a complete flip and landed on its tires. Everything happened in just a couple of seconds but all I had experienced in that airplane flashed before my eyes. God brought me to the edge of life and death yet again.

God shakes up our lives so that we would start thinking about our acts and so we could recognize His righteousness and accept His love. That One who created us does not want us to perish. God doesn’t take away our life, but reveals to us why we live on this earth. Through this He wants to give us the true joy and meaning of life. Jesus Christ doesn’t just wait for us to come to him but He is constantly pursuing us, trying to reveal Himself to us in the darkest and most confusing moments of our lives.

After all the events that took place in my life, I decided to repent before my God. It is difficult to explain repentance. It’s something deep inside your heart, and outside in your real life at the same time. Something unusual happens after the repentance. Your life changes and it happens inside, in harmony with your heart, your thoughts and your desires.

I remember when after the repentance a friend of mine called me and invited me to a party. I knew what that party would be like. I knew it was going to be wild. It was hard to say no before, but after I became a Christian it was easy. I knew that I was going to the church service that evening. I would listen to God’s words and would give my thankfulness to Him for everything He has done for me.

I am sure that God is knocking on the door of your heart today, but sometimes it is difficult for you to hear Him. Pay attention to your life and the situations you find yourself in. Try to analyze the problems in your life. Take the New Testament and try to find answers to your questions. Perhapes you won’t understand everything, but there are people who can help you. Look for them in Christian churches where the Word of God is preached. Listen to your heart and seek God. He will show you the way as He showed it to me. He had sent believers into my life who helped me sort everything out. They pointed to Christ and His love. They told me about forgiveness and true freedom. I am thankful for everything that happened in my life and I am very grateful to God for His salvation.”