CALCUTTA (BP)–Jacob*, just like the biblical Jacob, wrestled hard with God before beholding His glory.
Born into a Muslim family in West Bengal, India, Jacob was only 5 when village criminals murdered his father. His mother died several years later, leaving him in the care of an uncle.
“I was very angry with God,” Jacob recalls. “As a Muslim, I knew everything happened by God’s will for something good. But how was this good? He took my father and mother.”
As a bitter young teen, he loudly questioned God’s goodness — even His existence. A Muslim imam (Muslim leader) rebuked him and sent him to the mosque. Realizing his hunger for truth, Jacob spent 16 hours a day there for a month, going home only to eat and sleep.
That didn’t work, so he sought out religious books. They didn’t answer his questions either.
One day he found a tract with many verses about Jesus from the Koran, Islam’s holy book. He wrote to the address on the tract, completed a correspondence course and received a Bengali Bible, which he devoured.
“I lost my anger toward God,” he says. “I knew Jesus was Lord.”
At age 18, Jacob gave his heart to Christ. Later he sought baptism. Cast out by his uncle, he found shelter with his grandmother. He grew spiritually while listening to Christian radio programs. He met other believers and began working alongside them.
Now 32 and a husband and father, Jacob has begun more than 70 jaamats (house churches) attended by more than 700 Bengali Muslims who have become baptized followers of Christ. He trains house church leaders and other church planters, coordinates a correspondence course for more than 1,500 Muslim truth seekers and translates Christian materials.
“They are crying to God,” Jacob says of Muslims. “They are seeking Him. They have no idea what the ‘real thing’ is, but they are trying to find it.”
Jacob continues to pay a price for his faith. His family was forced out of their house because of his work. He has faced other attacks and dangers. But there’s no turning back for Jacob. His wrestling match with God ended long ago.
“He’s not cowering in a corner,” a friend says. “He’s out in the open, and that takes courage. He’s doing what God called him to do.”
*Name changed for security reasons.