Together Magazine is passionate about sharing everyday stories of transformation with readers to inspire and encourage you. One such story is from Sorubi Thavaratnam.
How did you come to know Jesus?
I can’t think of a time when I had no relationship with God, although I can think of times when my relationship with God was turbulent, indifferent or even hostile. I grew up in a church family, and had always heard about Jesus growing up. My earliest memories of God go back to when I was about five years old, telling Him all my stories whilst sitting on the edge of a beautiful, old pier in The Mumbles, a small seaside village in South Wales – a place that I called home. Sometimes I found God in the garden, sometimes I found Him at the oak trees in the woods at my preparatory school, which was part of the Swansea Bible College.
By the time I was 12 years old, I had entered into a turbulent time of teenage angst. I can’t pinpoint why my anger was directed at God, but for at least two years I was very hostile towards Him. In classic nerd style, my rebellion took place in the library. I borrowed eleven books each week about every other religion or philosophy other than Christianity. I taunted God with my books for years, and waited to see if anything would happen to me. One day, when I was 14, the sermon in church was about “falling short of God’s standard” and how Jesus was the only way to reach God. Suddenly, I knew that I needed Jesus and later that day, in my bedroom by myself, I prayed the prayer and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Saviour. Thankfully, Jesus said yes. This friendship changed my life. I was forgiven and I was a new creation. The Bible came alive to me and it felt like it penetrated my soul, I couldn’t get enough.
When I was 28, I discovered the Holy Spirit. I had always been sceptical of emotional people who get carried away and affected by music and called this the “Holy Spirit”. I wasn’t really keen on having any spiritual experiences, but one day I came to the end of myself as I was praying for healing for a friend. I felt God speak to me about receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit, giving me a word in a new tongue, and telling me that if I spoke it, then this person would be healed. I suggested to God that perhaps there was an alternate way to this person’s healing, and could I just skip the “spiritual experiences” part of my Christian journey altogether and study the Bible really well instead. God was gentle with me as always but eventually I chose to say the word. This word was a word of power and comfort. I said the word in the car while I was driving and made sure there was no music that could induce any emotions. Nothing much happened. I didn’t fall over or lose control of the car. I just kept driving. That day my friend had a dramatic healing. Encouraged by this I kept saying this word and in a few weeks it turned into a whole language. By the end of three months my friend was a Christian, and basically a whole new person who has now lead many others to Jesus. God had changed her life and by introducing me to the Holy Spirit, God had changed my life too.
How do you keep your relationship with Jesus healthy?
I keep my relationship with God healthy by fasting regularly, and making effort to enter into God’s rest. I have found that the “Sabbath” day/year idea is very powerful, and observing both fasting and resting has been really life changing for me.
What is the most powerful thing you have learnt about God?
The most powerful thing I have learned about God is that He is generous about demonstrating His affection for me. He makes Himself real to me, in very tangible and very practical ways. What is your passion for ministry and how are you serving God? In 2013, I enrolled in a Master of Divinity at Morling College. Not wanting to be a minister myself, and not particularly wanting to marry one, I was really curious as to why I was there. God had been talking to me about a revival in the Baptist church, and a birthing of many new churches for at least ten years and I had been fasting for it one day per week for three years, though I had not seen any visible signs of it happening. On my first day at Bible College, I sat next to Steve Bartlett who delivered a sermon on how the Baptist Association had a vision to grow to 1000 healthy churches in a generation. I almost fell off my pew.
A couple of weeks later I received God’s unmistakable call on my life to enter into a ministry of intercession and prayer for the revival in the church. Steve and I met a few weeks later and the day after we met I agreed to drive the prayer and intercession movement for GEN1K.