God Moves in a Mysterious Way, His Wonders to Perform
I think that almost every reader of this magazine1 will recognize in these two lines the beginning of the hymn by William Cowper, ‘God moves in a mysterious way’. As far as I know that author is virtually unknown to Polish Christians. Although many Christians might not know the hymn, we know the truth that it proclaims; God’s ways are indeed mysterious. I would like to share with you the story of our friend and brother – Tomasz. lt is only by God’s working in mysterious ways that Tomasz is with us. Born into a religious, Catholic family, listening to a preacher on the internet, and finding the way to our church through people in the USA and Poland, he writes his own story as follows:
My name is Tomasz Konieczny. I am 33, and would like to share with you my testimony. By doing that I would like to bring glory to the living God. For almost thirty years of my life I lived as a Catholic. I was born in Poland where almost everyone is included in the Catholic Church by infant baptism. Polish Catholicism is very national and traditional; in this country people are born to be Catholics. That was the case in my life too – baptised into the Catholic Church, religious lessons in school, prayers taught by my grandma. All the religious rituals were so natural in my life that I didn’t stop to think about it but was just practising them. Under the teaching of the Catholic Church I had been taking all the sacraments that should make me better, closer to God.
Living a lie
That was my life, easy, with a sense of safety. I tried to live a good moral life, go to church each Sunday and on church holy days; I participated in the mass, and from time to time went to confession. That gave me a sense of peace, salved my conscience and gave the impression that I did something for God. Yet, at the same time with a group of my friends I was stealing, drinking alcohol, just for fun and adventure – justifying it to myself as nothing wrong. I was putting on masks in front of my family; I played the good man, inside being a dirty liar. I lived a lie, trying to accomplish my egocentric goals. In spite of this I was convinced about my own righteousness and in my own eyes I was good, especially in comparison with other people. I was the one who confessed Christ. I went to church, doing some good, giving alms.
God knows best
But God uses different methods to save sinners. ln my case it was a personal tragedy. I lived with a girl for seven years, as an unmarried couple. The wedding was planned but then she left me and disappeared from my life. I was full of grief, suffering, jealousy – these emotions were so strong that I couldn’t overcome them. And then I started to think about my life. I understood that it was only a short period of my life that at the end wouldn’t have any meaning. I started to pray honestly to God to bring me relief in my pain and if possible to give this girl back to me, but it didn’t work. Now I know that God knows what is good for us, and I know that I prayed to God to fulfil my desires and needs. I prayed because I needed something; I prayed not knowing God.
My life was shaking; possessions didn’t bring me joy; the things that seemed solid and unmoveable all disappeared. Deep in my heart I thought about God as the only constant in life. I was still going to church waiting for relief, but nothing happened there. And then I came across a sermon on the internet. The sermon was preached by Paul Washer from Matthew 7:21-23. That teaching really got to me; the truths of the Gospel suddenly became clear. I had never heard anyone preaching in such a way before. The words of Christ just struck me – He told people who did so much good, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ They were cast off. Then I heard the question: Is your faith worth anything? And there was only one answer to that question – nothing. The truth I had heard knocked me to my knees.
I started to read the Scriptures and listen to sermons. God gave me a knowledge of sin and I saw it in my own life; I saw its ugliness. Before that I thought that my life was good, moral; but in the face of the truth I understood that I was spiritually dead and in fact I never knew God. I understood clearly that a moral life doesn’t make me better before God. There is no middle way; you are with the Lord or against Him. The words that I heard and read convinced me that to live in Christ means to give my whole life to Him, not just a part, but everything. It became clear to me that I cannot confess Christ as Lord and live in sin. Will I fall down? Probably yes . . . Will I sin? Yes, but am I willing to sin after knowing my Saviour and Lord, knowing what He did for me?
I have learned that my salvation is not based on my own efforts. Salvation is apart from me. If salvation depended on me and my works, that would lead me directly to hell. But the beauty of the Gospel and its truth is that Christ did all for my salvation. He loved me before I knew Him, when I was deep in my sins and unconscious of His work. I was a religious person, but as a Catholic I didn’t know the grace of God and that salvation is free. I didn’t know the truth from Ephesians 2:8 or Romans 4:5. It became so clear to me that after years of trying to meet God’s standards, after struggles for an extra spiritual state, God did it all, and gives it for free as an act of his grace. The Lord paid it all, there on Calvary’s cross; he paid it all and calls every sinner to come to Him and have life by his death. He died for us, and may it motivate all of us to holy living. To Him be the glory!
- Taken with permission from the European Missionary Fellowship magazine Vision for Europe, January-April 2015.
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