Below is a small story by an unknown author. It speaks of the transformation of an agnostic into a believer in an unusual circumstance. Please read on.
"A young man who had been raised as an atheist was training to be an Olympic diver. The only religious influence in his life came from his outspoken Christian friend.
The young diver never really paid much attention to his friend's sermons, but he heard them often.
One night the diver went to the indoor pool at the college he attended. The lights were all off, but as the pool had big skylights and the moon was bright, there was plenty of light to practice by.
The young man climbed up to the highest diving board and as he turned his back to the pool on the edge of the board and extended his arms out, he saw his shadow on the wall. The shadow of his body was in the shape of a cross.
Instead of diving, he knelt down and asked God to come into his life. As the young man stood, a maintenance man walked in and turned the lights on.
The pool had been drained for repairs."
Normally he would have dived without making much of the shadow that appeared as a cross on the wall. But it was night time with him being alone and none around the pool. it was dark and somber with no lights turned on producing a lonely feeling. It is only when things are different from normal and when you are alone that mind turns towards the unknown god. The shadow of a cross formed by his body with extended arms was enough to bring a sudden transformation in his uneasy mind. He looked in the shadow the presence of God that he has been ignoring all the time. It was the personal repentance at that moment that made him kneel before the shadow and seek God coming into his life.
Many of us cry out to God when we pass through difficult times in our life particularly when we feel helpless, weak, abandoned or overwhelmed by daunting challenges. Even during life threatening circumstances we turn to God. When our ego is less, we are closer to God and once the situation changes for the better the old ego returns stronger we tend to live in our normal ways away from Him.
It was for this reason that Kunti, mother of Pandavas in Mahabharata, prayed to Lord Krishna to keep her always in trouble so that she will remember Him always.
“My Lord, Your Lordship can easily be approached, but only by those who are materially exhausted. One, who is on the path of [material] progress, trying to improve himself with respectable parentage, great opulence, high education and bodily beauty, cannot approach You with sincere feeling.”(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.26).
The utterance of Lord’s name no doubt has potency but is very high only when it is uttered sincerely with total faith in surrender mode. It is the quality of feeling or yearning that determines the potency. Such sincerity comes only when one feels helpless and has no material devices to fall upon.
Such a transformation process or change of mind towards God is preceded by sincere repentance. It is to say to the Lord, “I want to turn towards You and away from the life I’ve lived independently from You. I am sorry for who I’ve been and what I have done and I want to permanently change. I wish to receive your forgiveness for my sins.”
The miraculous appearance of maintenance man and switching on the lights in the nick of time to save the young man’s life is indicative of Lord having forgiven him.