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I wanted to be free

December 2002

Richard Wild is 28 years old and married with two children. He works as a salesman for a packaging company. God helped him to sort out his life and he has now been a Christian for almost 18 months.

All my life I have had a sense of something missing – a big hole that needed filling. I played professional cricket and was apparently successful, but I still had a sense there was something more to life.

I looked for answers, but all my moti-vations were selfish. I liked to drink and wanted more money, a better job, a better home – to be surrounded by things that made me look better.

While my life was being driven that way, I met my wife Pam. We got engaged and married and Daniel was born. But even the joy of a baby didn’t fill what was missing in my life.

The pressures of coping with a young child and working fulltime drove me further into excesses, especially drinking. My behaviour, due to alcohol, caused much pain and hurt to other people – but I didn’t really care.

I left my wife

All this pressure, and the feeling that there was something else and the longing to find it, reached a climax at Christmas 1999. I walked out on Pam and Daniel because I did not want the responsibility any more.

I felt I was chained, and I wanted to be free – so I left my wife. Despite the hurt and anguish it caused, I walked away, following my selfish heart once more.

As I look back now, I sometimes cry at the pain I caused Daniel. Even though he was only 2 years old, he still knew Daddy was not there.

But then things began to change. Through work I came into contact with two Christians, both of different ages and positions, but both having something different – something I didn’t have.

I was curious as to what that was, and began by asking the question ‘What’s the universe all about, and why are we here?’ I believed at the time that it was me searching for something. But I now recognise it was God’s love drawing me to him.

First-time Bible

I had lots of unanswered questions, and the gift of a Gideon New Testament from one of these friends opened a new doorway for me. I began to read the Bible for the first time in my life.

It led me to the conclusion that there was a God, and I rejected my ideas on evolution that I had been taught at school. I now sensed there was something or someone greater at work in this world than I had been aware of before.

The freedom I thought I would gain when I left my family quickly became a prison of guilt. I thought of the hurt I was causing to people around me.

I was faced with the fact that I was not living my life in the right way. I was completely confused about everything, but God slowly helped me to sort out my thoughts and then my life.

Why was Jesus crucified?

I was introduced to a minister at the church I now attend. After talking with him, I soon realised that Jesus Christ did live and do the things I read about in the New Testament. But I still could not understand why an innocent man was crucified.

I went to a service at the church. I sat transfixed as the minister told me that God himself had planned that Jesus should die on the cross – to pay the price for my sin and ungodliness. If I trusted Christ, he would give me the free gift of eternal life.

I realised I was completely helpless to save myself and that my sins, if left, would cut me off from God for eternity. But Jesus, in his love and kindness, just held out his hand to me.

He seemed to say ‘Richard, take my hand. I forgive you because I love you’. Then I prayed, believing in my heart that Jesus Christ truly was God and that he did pay the price for my sins. And God filled my heart with joy, peace, happiness and love.

Marriage repaired

Since I put my trust in Christ, my life has been transformed and, in his grace, God allowed me to repair my marriage. A few months later, Pam went to the church and also found forgiveness and the love of God in her heart.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I realise that I matter to God, the creator of the whole universe. Regardless of where our lives have taken us, or the pain and hurt we have caused, he loves and forgives. Because of this love, I now look forward with joy to each new day, and give thanks to God for everything he does in my life.

I now realise that the freedom I sought can only be found in Jesus Christ. A hymn describes this freedom thus: ‘My chains fell off, my heart was free; I rose went forth and followed thee’.

I urge you with all my heart to seek and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.