A man walk under a flyover

When Doubt Led Me to Jesus

Written by Ananda Utami, Indonesia. Originally written in Bahasa Indonesia.


I was born in a non-Christian family that was devoutly following a different religion. In fact, my parents sent me to a school that taught the values of that particular religion. My friends at school also knew me as an obedient and pious child, as I was always teaching and reminding them to be better.

When I entered junior high school, I became interested in learning about other religions besides mine, if only to find fault with them so that I would become more convinced that my religion was the only true one. I read books and diligently watched religious debates on YouTube to learn their teachings, so I could think about how my religion was the correct one while the others were all nonsense.

When I was about to graduate from high school, I decided to continue studying abroad, so I didn’t need to take the national exams for state universities. But instead of feeling anxious about going to college or how my life would be in a new place, I started to worry about my faith. Questions like these started to form in my mind: If I hadn’t been born into this family that believed in this religion, would I still have chosen to believe this? Am I going to stick with this? Will I find the path of truth?” 

Over time, these questions did not disappear, but made me even more curious to find answers.


When I tried to face and answer my doubts

Finally, I got up the courage to ask a friend who is a Christian: “Why are you a Christian if you weren’t born with it? Don’t all religions claim that they are the correct one? You and I don’t live in the past, and if each religious book guarantees the truth of each, how do you know if your religion is the right one?”

My friend asked me to meet somewhere, and there he answered each of my questions in detail. He told me about salvation, how humans fell into sin, and how God sent Jesus to atone for our sins.

But even after that, I still couldn’t believe it, and I thought that I had wasted my time meeting him. I said, “In my religion, your book is wrong. It wasn’t Jesus who was crucified!” But no matter how hard I argued, my friend was still able to answer me calmly and in detail.

One time, my friend suggested that I read a book written by Nabeel Qureshi, who was originally not a Christian but eventually came to know and accept Jesus. Through several dreams, Nabeel received confirmation that the Lord Jesus was true.

At first I refused to read it, thinking that the dreams were ridiculous, plus I didn’t like reading people’s testimonies. I thought they were all the same and will not change my mind.

However, for some reason, I eventually decided to read the book. Given all the English terms that were new to me, I should’ve been too lazy to read it to the end. However, I actually finished it. The book told me that the crucifixion of Jesus was not a fictitious event that happened in the blink of an eye. There were many witnesses and people involved. And so how strange would it be if, with all the witnesses, it was just a fake story.

Still, I tried to forget this view and convince myself that Christianity is not true.


When God knocked on the door of my heart

A few days after reading the book, I had several dreams that disturbed me. In one dream, I saw myself being scolded by my mother because of my decision to follow Jesus.

I began to wonder if the dreams were because I had read the book, or if it was really a sign from God. It felt so scary.

So I tried to tell my friend about it. But to my surprise, he instead talked to me about the Pharisees who worshiped with the aim of “bribing” God. The Pharisees performed rituals with the presumption that they would be saved.

I was stunned when I heard this, because that’s exactly how I felt all the time—like a Pharisee who knew a lot about religion and practiced rituals so that I could be saved and have a special place in God’s eyes. This saddened me.

That night I cried and prayed to God, whoever that God was. I asked Him to show me the truth. Then, I read a devotional my friend sent me and saw this verse—Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, exalted in the earth!”

Reading that verse gave me goosebumps; it was as if God was speaking directly to me. In that moment, I decided to trust God.

But the next day I doubted again whether this was really the path I had chosen. Was the God I chose to believe that night the true God? And again, God answered me through the devotional for that day. I read John 15:16, which says:

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you. And I have appointed you, that you may go forth and bear fruit, and your fruit shall remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he may give you.”

I was surprised again. It felt like God was really answering my doubts.

After a long series of events led me to doubt the faith that I had believed in, I finally made up my mind to accept Jesus after I graduated from high school. I knew that this decision will give birth to challenges, from my parents, friends, and my circles.

However, I found truth and peace in Jesus Christ, so I took courage and believed that the Lord Jesus was with me.


Losing friends as a consequence of following Jesus

For some time, I kept my decision a secret from everyone, including my friends. Even though I really wanted to tell them, I was afraid.

When I brought this struggle to God, He answered me that it was not time yet for me to open up about my new identity. So I thought that perhaps, with my old identity, it would be easier for me to convey Christian understandings to my friends, so that when I finally open up about myself, they wouldn’t be too surprised.

I began to actively leave “traces” and send “signals” about my new faith by making spiritual posts with slight modifications. I would post the lyrics of spiritual songs and Bible quotes without citing the source. This went on for a year and a half.

After praying earnestly for some time, I finally decided to tell my friends about my faith. I expected them to be sad when they found out, but I told them anyway because I knew I couldn’t keep this a secret forever, and because they’re my best friends.

They were shocked that I would become like this. They thought that my posts on social media were just because of my curiosity about Christianity, nothing more.

After telling them, I felt relieved that I finally got to be honest with my friends. I thought that they wouldn’t leave me because we were best friends. But I was wrong.

The next day, one of them messaged me, expressing her anger, disappointment, and sadness. She felt that I had betrayed her because I kept this a secret. I was devastated.

When I asked my other friends, they also expressed similar feelings. In the days that followed, they started asking me many questions about my Christian faith, but not out of curiosity; they were trying to pull me back to my original faith.

However, by that point I had decided that I firmly believed in Jesus. Since then, they decided to distance themselves from me.

I’m very sad to have lost my friends. But I still pray for them, and I’m grateful that God has given me new friends through the fellowships that I’ve joined.

What I am facing today may only be a small part of what I will face in the future, and it is nothing compared to how Jesus was ostracised by people, even to the point of being denied by Peter, His own disciple who was so close to Him.

I believe that no matter what happens in the future, God will never leave me, just as this song reminds and comforts me:

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will share all our sorrows?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

I may have lost close friends that I love so much, but I will always have the Lord Jesus, the true friend who will never leave me no matter what.

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