As a child I went to Sunday school and church every week. At home, as a family, we read the Bible together. My parents explained that I should make my own mind up about being a Christian and that they could not do that for me.
In my mid-teens I became very confused by the many opinions and arguments I heard about Christian beliefs. I kept going to church until I was 18 but in my heart I knew that just going to church did not make me a Christian.
I left home and went my own way. I no longer went to church. It was several years later that I seriously started to consider my own life and its purpose. There had to be more to it than birth, life and death!
I was not unhappy or in a crisis but despite having a home and family I felt that my life was empty. Something needed dealing with and I was increasingly bothered by it.
In an attempt to do something about the way I felt, I started reading the Bible again. As it was Easter, I decided to read the Easter story from the Gospels day by day.
On Palm Sunday I started with Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey. On the Tuesday I remember reading how Jesus was arrested after Judas had betrayed him.
Later, as Jesus was being tried by the High Priest, his disciple Peter was challenged and denied knowing him – just as Jesus had predicted.
As I thought this over, it struck me that I was doing the same – I was denying God in my life and this was a sin against him. I had no excuses.
Purpose and promise
I felt deeply sorry and wanted to put things right. So that day I quietly asked God to forgive me and to lead me to a church that taught the Bible faithfully – so that I could sort out my confusion.
Through the remaining week I carried on with my reading – how Jesus suffered and died on the cross, rose again on the third day, and ascended to heaven. Another text I recalled was John 3:16: ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life’.
It seemed as I read these familiar passages that they had a fresh and powerful personal meaning. God’s Son had died for me, a sinner! The mists of my confusion were being dispersed by reading God’s Word.
The prayer that I prayed on the Tuesday of that week was answered. I felt at peace because God had forgiven me, and my life had a purpose and the promise of eternal life in heaven.
He also led me in a remarkable way to a Bible-believing church. The very next day people from Tinshill Free Church were visiting the neighbourhood and knocked at my door.
At first I was cautious about attending a service, but over the next few weeks I felt compelled to go. As I listened to my first service there I felt that God was speaking to me. This was where he wanted me to be and where I later was baptised to show that I had become a Christian.