Even as a small child, Khosrow questioned the “meaning of life.” Everything around him raised questions, such as: Why do flowers have color? What’s beyond the stars? Where do we go when we die? When no one could answer his questions satisfactorily, his sensitive nature gave way to a growing depression.
As a young adult, Khosrow decided not to attend university and instead worked in a low-level position at the local telephone company. He resolved himself to a meaningless existence. Day by day, his situation worsened. He felt an emptiness in his soul, and tried to get close to God by reading many different books and participating in religious gatherings and activities.
One day on his way to work, he passed an Assyrian Christian church which he had passed many times before. This time, however, something was different. It seemed as though a voice from within the church called to him. On his way home, he decided to go inside. During his second visit to the church, he encountered a few elderly people and a pastor speaking in Assyrian, a language he could not understand.After the church service, the pastor made a point of speaking to Khosrow. The pastor gave him a stack of books. The books were all in Farsi and among them was a copy of the New Testament. He told Khosrow this was the most important book he could read.
Khosrow proceeded to read the New Testament from cover to cover in hopes of experiencing a positive change in his life. But no change was apparent, so he decided to read the New Testament a second time, then a third time. Still, there was no change.
Returning home from work feeling angry and hopeless, Khosrow went into his bedroom and threw his copy of the New Testament across the room. In despair, he cried out for God to reveal Himself to him, or leave him alone forever. Just then, the form of a man appeared in front of him in a vision, extending his hands toward him and telling him, “Give me your hand, and your life will change.” Khosrow took the man’s hand and a wave of what he describes as “electricity” flowed through his body. Kneeling, he began to weep, making such a loud noise that his parents came into the room to see what was wrong. They were shocked to see Khosrow crying for the first time in many years.
From that day forward, everything in Khosrow’s life began to change. In his own words, he became “a new human being.” The heavy load of depression lifted away and in its place grew a deep love for God, his family and other people.
Khosrow returned to the Assyrian-speaking pastor who had given him the books and he described the experience of the vision. The pastor concluded that Khosrow had been born again and needed to be taught as a Christian. He sent him to another pastor who spoke better Farsi, and Khosrow began to grow in his Christian faith. He studied the Bible thoroughly and eventually became a pastor. He also married.
The persecution of Christians in Iran forced Khosrow to flee with his wife and two children to Turkey, where persecution was less intense. Later, they were forced to flee again. This time, they sought refuge in Austria. To get there, they flew initially to Bosnia. Then, with the help of smugglers, they made their way by car and on foot toward the Austrian border. It was winter and bitterly cold.
While crossing a river late at night, Khosrow’s son, Joseph, lost his footing on a makeshift bridge and fell into the freezing water, dragging his father into the water with him. The river was fast-flowing and deep. Khosrow flailed about in the dark water, searching in vain for his son. Suddenly, Khosrow felt someone putting Joseph in his hands. He also felt as if the same person—invisible to his eyes—helped him carry Joseph to the river’s embankment. Both he and his son were saved, and the family made their way to Austria.
Khosrow compares the invisible hands that saved him and his family that night to the hands he saw and felt in his vision of Jesus. He tells the story of being asked once by a skeptic how he could know the vision wasn’t a product of his own imagination. Khosrow asked the skeptic if he was wearing clothes. The man was taken aback by the question, but the analogy was clear. Khosrow’s vision was as real as that and more.