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Lasting happiness

December 2017 | by Colin Wooldridge

Unlike alcohol, success or sport, turning to Jesus has brought me true and lasting happiness.

I didn’t have an easy time when I was growing up. My dad died when I was four and, when I was a teenager, I became seriously ill with pneumonia and pleurisy. I was so desperate I asked God for help, but when I recovered I soon forgot all about God.

I later got a grant to study medicine at Liverpool University, but in my fifth year I had a motorcycle accident, which shattered my leg and confined me to hospital — but as a patient, not a student. I just didn’t have the money to re-do the year, so I had to give it up.

So in 1957, I moved to Swansea and joined the Swansea Borough police force. I married Jean in 1963. We settled in Ynystawe and had three daughters. My mother-in-law’s friend insisted on taking our girls to Bethel Evangelical Church, Clydach. Jean and I were happy for them to go, but weren’t particularly interested in going ourselves.

But in 1977, God started to intervene in my life. Being Detective Sergeant in the drugs squad was challenging work and I spent a lot of time in pubs and clubs where the drug-users were.

About that time, Jean and I were invited by our daughters to a meeting which the young people were taking at Bethel. We had refused so many invitations previously that we thought we ought to go.

Young people

I sat there and watched the young people; their faces radiated such joy and happiness. It really moved me. It was such a contrast to the young drug-users I was dealing with in my work. I knew the drug-users never found happiness through taking drugs. Indeed, many ended their lives.

Seeing their happiness made me interested enough to start attending Bethel myself. I had thought that academic success, alcohol, playing rugby, and other things like that, would bring lasting happiness. But I’d found that it didn’t last.

Then, in the last hour of the last day of 1977, while attending a New Year’s Eve service, I heard these words of Jesus: ‘Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest’.

It became a personal invitation to me and I accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour there and then, and became a new person in the Lord. From then on, I wanted to live for the Lord. My life had changed.

I used to drink and I enjoyed smoking, but I no longer wanted to do those things and gave them up immediately. What God had given me was so much more wonderful than anything the world had to offer.

I went for a walk on the first morning of 1978 and I remember breathing in the pure fresh air and thinking how wonderful creation was. It was a new year and I was a new person.

I know now that everlasting happiness can only be found by accepting Jesus as Saviour. Unlike alcohol, success or sport, turning to Jesus has brought me true and lasting happiness.

Colin Wooldridge