My early life was in a caring and settled family. My father spent life in military service. He was a man of integrity and ordered discipline, something I have since come to appreciate.
He passed from this life when I was in my early teens. I recall that, through his long illness, he displayed great spirit and gracious character.
Following his passing, I continued to grow up with my widowed mother, who worked hard to sustain the home without the support of her husband. Again, I am thankful for all she undertook for me.
I was encouraged to attend Sunday school at the local Anglican church. Summer camps and trips were very much part of their activities. Looking back, I had no real interest in the Bible or Christian issues.
My school days and early working life were enjoyed and I had a sense of fun and a carefree attitude. I was actively committed to sport. Rugby Union took up much of my time and attention; I gave many years of fitness and commitment to this game.
I also enjoyed all the extra activities that were involved, sadly to the exclusion of my young family. Much of the social lifestyle was not something to be proud of. In all this, I had the love and concern of my faithful and loving wife and children.
Family life has not been all joy though, especially when we lost our first child at the age of 18 months from genetic illness.
During my life I have had the privilege of working in a number of overseas situations. This has given me experience of other cultures and lifestyles. Around this time, I was ‘press-ganged’ into helping with sport activities for a youth summer holiday club of my wife’s church.
I expressed an interest in only becoming involved in sport activities and nothing else. Here I heard adults talking and teaching young people of things in the Bible and its central character, Jesus Christ.
Unknown to those giving the presentations, they were being used to speak to me. I had a number of questions about the Bible accounts and the person of Jesus Christ. I see now my questions were based on seeds sown in my early years at Sunday school.
Following some discussions with one of the holiday club leaders, I was given a short book to read entitled Man alive — the biblical evidence for the resurrection.
I saw from reading this book how the birth, life and resurrection of Jesus Christ is a unique historical fact. It’s also a critical issue in regard to every person’s life and what lies beyond the grave.
This Man, whose name many use as a curse word (including myself in the past), came to be born, lived a life of humility and care, was cruelly put to death, but physically rose from the grave — an event absolutely unique in the history of the world.
My response to the truth set before me was: ‘If this man has lived, died and come back to life physically, there is something extraordinary and significant about him’. I prayed God to forgive my ignorance and reveal more of his truth to me. And he has continued being faithful in doing that throughout my life.
I can justly and warmly encourage anyone ignorant of God, although humanly ‘upright’ in deeds, that life is incomplete and the soul in great danger of final judgement and eternal distress. Only Jesus Christ can deliver us from the wrath to come.