From hatred to love
Even as a young child, I always hated God. I never denied that he was there (it seemed too obvious to me), but desperately wished that he wasn’t!
I believed that the Bible was true, but didn’t like what it taught. I didn’t like knowing that I was a sinful rebel against God, and deserved to be punished. I thought it was unfair of God to make me in the first place, if I was going to end up in hell.
I hated the fact that the only way of escape was to submit to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. I didn’t want him; I wanted to rule my own life.
I was absolutely determined that I would never become a follower of Jesus Christ. Although I was petrified of hell, surrendering to the authority of Christ was too big a price to pay. I hated God.
I am now 24 years old. I love God and am a follower of Jesus Christ. It is my joy and delight to know him and tell others about him. The Lord Jesus Christ is my friend, companion, rescuer, helper, shepherd and king. Whereas once I was 100 per cent convinced that I was going to hell, I am now 100 per cent certain of going to heaven.
To cut a long story short, I was confronted with the overpowering glory of God.
Previously, I had only seen one ‘use’ in God – he could forgive my sin and save me from hell. But I was too stubborn to embrace his generous offer. However, at the age of 15, I heard a man preaching.
I had heard preaching thousands of times before. I was extremely familiar with the gospel – the good news about Jesus Christ coming into the world to save sinners. I knew that Jesus was the Son of God who had laid down his life as a sacrifice for sin and who had risen again in triumph.
I knew that I had to turn away from my sin and trust in Christ alone for forgiveness. I could easily have explained it all to someone else. But this preaching was different.
As the preacher focused upon the sheer unutterable glory and splendour of God, I became fascinated and began to be overwhelmed. Something of the infinite greatness, majesty and magnificence of God dawned upon my soul as it never had before.
For the first time in my life, I saw God as attractive and compelling. Here was Someone worth knowing, serving and enjoying, simply because of the sheer excellence of who he is. I was conquered. I finally surrendered to God in repentance and placed my trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
As a willing servant of Jesus Christ, I now have the joy of knowing God as a gentle Father and almighty friend. I have the peace of knowing that all my rebellion against God is forgiven and paid for by Jesus.
I have the power to live a changed life through the Holy Spirit, who lives within me. And I have the confident hope of everlasting paradise when I die. Truly, God has radically and supernaturally transformed my entire life!
My experience illustrates many of God’s wonderful characteristics. Firstly, he is marvellously patient. I rejected him for years and stubbornly resisted him. I had been given many opportunities to hear the gospel and wasted them all.
God could have given up on me, but didn’t. He pursued and persevered with me, even though I hated him so much. Secondly, God is astonishingly powerful. Even the hardest heart and the most stubborn will is not too difficult for him to crack. In spite of my resistance, he brought me to repentance and faith.
Thirdly, God is unimaginably loving. It is a complete mystery why he should love someone as self-centred and wilfully disobedient as I was. That he should love me enough to sacrifice his own Son, punishing him instead of me, is utterly beyond understanding.
Truly, ‘Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable’ (Psalm 145:3).