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Finding peace and joy

December 2000 | by Eileen Meystre

I was baptised as a baby into the Church of England and attended Sunday school irregularly to the age of fourteen. My parents were not churchgoers, and religion was not discussed at home. During my teens I believed in God and occasionally went to church, but soon drifted away.

My nineteen years of marriage brought happiness, despair and excitement. It also brought eleven years of working abroad and living a very worldly life, seeing much of the seamy side of it. I often disliked the way I lived and longed ‘to plant my feet on higher ground’, but lacked the strength of will to do anything about it.

For a few years I prayed to God, then I stopped as I was convinced that my sins were too great to be forgiven, although a church minister I met socially assured me that God was more merciful than I!

Belief in oblivion

During those years I would not have admitted that I believed in God. When pulled into discussions on life after death, I used to say that I believed in oblivion, as that seemed to me the sweetest way to blot out all the things I hated about life. I had no knowledge of salvation through grace or of what it meant to be born again.

My husband’s sudden death by drowning in 1969 did not soften the hard shell I had built around myself. But my youngest daughter could not come to terms with his death. Her school was in Littlehampton, and it so happened that she came into contact with Christians in Worthing. In her last year at school she was converted, four years after her father’s death.

Aware of sinfulness

Christianity had come into our home and my shell of hardness cracked.

In 1973, as a result of my daughter’s persistent speaking to me about the gospel, I went to a Billy Graham crusade. On the second evening at Earl’s Court, during the Bible reading, I became aware of my sinfulness.

This conviction grew throughout the following sermon. Listening to the Word of God, I began to understand all that my daughter had been telling me about God. I found that I could not deny his reality. I confessed my sin and asked forgiveness. That evening I trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for my salvation.

The assurance that my sins were (and continue to be) forgiven has made the Bible (for example, 1 John 1:9 and Romans 8:1) very precious to me. For the first time in my life I had true peace of mind, and joy inside me as I thought of the wonder and glory of the Lord. I am humbled at the privilege of being saved.

A changed life

My life was changed (to the surprise of some of my friends!). For example, I had previously spent Sundays doing housework all morning, and passing the rest of the day with a friend. I now went to church to worship God before going to see her, and left her early to attend church in the evening.

I realise now that God had been speaking to me many times previous to my conversion, and that, although I would not listen, it was he who had delivered me from many aspects of evil. Now that I know Christ as my faithful Saviour, I marvel at God’s patience with me and wonder how I could have ignored him for so long.