I expect it surprised people who knew me when I told them I had become a Christian, as in their eyes I probably already was one.
I’d been brought up in a Christian home, I’d been christened as a baby, I had gone to Sunday school and been confirmed as a teenager. I went to church when my parents told me to go to church. I had never really read the Bible at all myself, although I’d had the Bible read to me when I was much younger. Interestingly, though, I had read the lesson at friends’ weddings, or been asked to.
But I can’t ever remember anything that I personally had read from the Bible before I became a Christian.
When I was 18, I went to medical school and I left home for the first time. I worked hard, and I thought I deserved to play hard. I was, in fact, living my life without reference to God, and I turned my back against God and everything that is good.
I felt that God must really hate me, and he must be so disappointed in me. I just buried my head in the sand and I felt myself just saying: “Well there’s no point in praying or going to church or reading the Bible ever again because that’s it—I’ve blown my chance.”
I really wanted to wipe that slate clean, and periodically I wished that I could, but I never really knew of a way that I could do that.
I was involved in a relationship with someone who let me down and who betrayed my trust, and when this happened I couldn’t believe that it had happened. My whole world came tumbling down. And I felt very hurt and very alone and very betrayed. I just couldn’t imagine what I’d done to deserve this.
But I know that I had a real longing to come back to God; and I felt an amazing peace as if a massive weight had been taken off my shoulders, and I just felt an amazing joy. I didn’t know why, but I just remember that moments before that I’d been feeling so sad and so alone; yet I had this amazing peace and incredible joy.
I know that God had been there all the time, longing for me to come back to him. Even though I’d turned my back on him, he hadn’t given up on me. I know now that at that moment, the Holy Spirit came into me.
After that, I went to church. I went to a church that I didn’t know anybody at. A friend at work had mentioned this church to me, but I’d always fobbed her off and said: “Yeah, sure I’ll come,” but of course I didn’t go—until that particular Sunday.
I felt that God was really speaking to me in that service. I’d sung all those songs before, I’d had that Bible passage read to me before, but I’d never before felt what I felt during that service. And very soon after I went to a Christianity Explored course that the church was running.
When I went on the Christianity Explored course, I finally understood the amazing gift that God had given me—that gift of Jesus dying on the cross for me. I didn’t deserve this; there was nothing I’d done to deserve it, there was nothing I could do to deserve it. It was a loving, selfless gift, and all I could do was accept that gift.
My life is about Jesus now. He is my Lord, my Saviour—he is the centre of my life. I can’t even imagine what my life would be like without knowing God.
Even though life may throw anything at me—there’ve been ups and downs—I know that I’m never alone, I know that God is always with me, and that he’s the one in control. He’s the one who has a plan, and he’s an amazing, good, loving God—and I can look forward to being with him in eternity in his perfect kingdom.