‘Daniels, go home and get your kit, you’re playing this afternoon!’
Llanelli Grammar’s 1st XI was short of a few senior lads and they needed some younger kids to fill in. But who cares? A whole afternoon of cricket and, even better, missing double maths and biology.
Our opponents were 50 miles away, just outside Cardiff. We beat them soundly, the game finishing early. On the way home I sat right next to the opening bowler, Gwyon Jenkins.
I asked Gwyon what he had done over the previous weekend. He replied that he had gone to church. What? To church? Gwyon Jenkins was in the Upper Sixth. My brain was scrambled, so I blurted out the first thing that came to mind, ‘Does your mother still make you go to Sunday school at the age of 18?’
Then it got worse. Instead of cringing, he answered gently and calmly that he chose to go to church because he was a Christian.
Oh no! Thirty miles to go and I’m sitting next to a ‘Bible basher’! All I can remember thinking was, ‘How could this be?’ This guy was normal — a good sportsman and could even have a laugh. But he was a Christian.
Meeting and getting to know Gwyon Jenkins was the beginning of a seven-year process. I overcame barriers that were blocking my path to a life-changing experience.
In due course, I understood, experienced and entered into a restored relationship with the God who made the universe, and who made me to worship and enjoy him.
Getting to know Gwyon kept reminding me that my stereotype of a Christian had been based on pure ignorance. But things couldn’t end there.
I found myself thinking, ‘If Jesus can make that kind of difference to my friend, could he perhaps change my life too?’ That word ‘perhaps’ was the key turning point.
I left Llanelli to study in Cardiff at the age of 18. I thought I might have got away from Gwyon. OK, he wasn’t weird, nor was his faith irrelevant to him and I could see that it might be relevant to me too. But, I didn’t even believe in God.
For the next three years, Gwyon Jenkins wrote to defend the truth of the claims of Jesus Christ. He was thorough; we discussed everything. Could you prove the existence of God? Is there evidence for the resurrection of Jesus? Why would a good God allow suffering? What about other religions?
He covered every base that I could think of. I concluded that the Christian faith was not weird, irrelevant or untrue. Indeed, it was intellectually reasonable as well as emotionally satisfying.
I came to the conclusion that to trust in Christ as the ruler of the world and as my rescuer at the cross was the inevitable and only thing to do.
So what about you? I have been brought to the most important relationship in the universe, one of forgiveness for my rebellion against my Creator, and of a restored relationship that will last from now into eternity.
If you aren’t convinced, please don’t stop considering these issues. Look closely at the Bible and the claims of Christ. It’s not weird, nor irrelevant, nor untrue.