“Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)
“For years, I didn’t want to tell people I believed in Christ,” said Amit Nihalani. “I was worried about how others would react to me. Growing up, I was a devout Hindu and believed that my good deeds earned me favor with God. I prayed to different gods represented by idols in my home, all with the intention of developing a relationship with God. However, no matter how much I prayed or read about Hinduism, I always felt that God was distant.
“In 1997, I moved from New York to Texas to attend college in Austin. There, a friend shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with me. I didn’t understand it at first, but my friend offered to read the Bible with me and gave me a copy of the New Testament. What resonated with me about the gospel was that Christ wanted to have a relationship with me. He had already done the work I tried to do myself. God loved me so much He built a bridge between Himself and me through Christ, who paid the price for my sin. I could never earn what Christ did for me on the cross.
“I have always been very curious and asked many questions. This same curiosity also helped me trust in Christ. Although I did not understand the gospel initially, the more questions I asked, I always found solid answers in the Bible to back up Christ’s claims that He was ‘the way, the truth and the life.’ Up to that point, I’d always prayed to idols. But when I prayed in the name of Jesus for the first time, the Holy Spirit made it clear that Christ was real.
“Initially I was afraid of putting my trust in Christ because I did not want to hurt my family and turn away from my culture. When I moved back to New York after college, I wasn’t sure I would or could truly follow the Lord. But six months later, I moved back to Texas and heard a pastor give a sermon on risk and trusting the Lord. I knew I needed to be obedient, stop worrying what my family would say and publicly acknowledge my faith in Christ. At the end of the message, I repented of my sins and asked Christ to
be my Lord and Savior.
“I was later baptized, but wasn’t experiencing much spiritual growth during that first year. I still drank, engaged in unhealthy relationships and looked at pornography. I actually felt worse off than before because I knew my choices were an offense to the Lord, but I did not know how to do any better. Eventually after coming to Watermark for a year, I joined a Bible study with other men who were very authentic about their own struggles. I confessed what was going on in my life and God began to change my heart. I was discipled by older men who taught me how to study God’s Word and apply it to my daily life.
“Since putting my trust in Christ, the Lord has shown me how wonderful His grace truly is. I don’t have to carry guilt over the mistakes I have made. Christ died for me, and I am free. I am not perfect, but by God’s grace, I am able to repent and make amends with others when I hurt them. But there’s a difference – I’m not burdened by the shame of my past mistakes. I’ve accepted God’s grace and the work Christ did for me on the cross.
“I have always thought that I’d stay in Dallas forever. The Lord has blessed me with many great friendships, and I have discipled a group of kids at Watermark for eight years. I actually turned down a previous job offer in Houston because I didn’t want to leave the boys. I never felt called to go back to New York until 2010 when I went to Ethiopia with others from Watermark and shared the gospel there. God planted a seed in my heart to go back to New York and share the gospel with my family and friends. God has equipped me and helped me learn to walk with Him. I don’t know what life will be like, but I feel God is calling me to leave my comfortable life here and see what He has for me in New York.
“In the last 10 years of following Christ, there has been hurt, pain and many prayers that were not answered the way I wanted them to be. At times my plans for a job or a relationship didn’t work out how I wanted them to. But each disappointment was an opportunity to remember that God is good, and I can trust Him more than my own feelings. God has given me certainty and peace from Psalm 27:14. I’ve learned to, ‘wait on the Lord. Take heart. Be strong. And wait on the Lord’ again.”