Being brought up in a Christian family, I listened to the gospel message from a young age. I attended Sunday school, youth groups and hundreds of church services, but I took very little notice of what I was hearing.
From my point of view, the truths I heard from God’s Word went in one ear and out of the other, during the first 19 years of my life. I had little interest in listening to what God was saying to me and, during my teenage years, began to have the attitude, ‘I can do what I want and no one can stop me’.
I went through a difficult time during my A-levels and wanted to see what the world had to offer. The answer was excitement for small periods of time, but nothing which lasted. Anyway, as I headed off to Sheffield University, I had the mindset that I was going to go away from home and live as I wanted, without feeling any guilt towards family and friends if I didn’t go to church again. I was living for self.
However, God was merciful towards me, as, on the first night I was in Sheffield, a man from the local church whom I didn’t know knocked at my door. We had a brief chat and he asked me if I wanted to come to the church services the next day.
I felt I couldn’t be rude and say, ‘No’. So, I went on the Sunday. Looking back, God was dealing with me so patiently, when, in truth, I wasn’t deserving of any of his kindness.
During my first year away from home, I heard once again that we are all wretched, fallen sinners, and that God is holy, just, pure and good. I had heard this on many occasions, but God showed me my real need and my own awful failings, for the first time in my life.
God was also merciful to me, in that he placed me in accommodation with a group of lads who made life difficult for me. I soon realised I couldn’t rely on myself to solve all my problems and difficulties. I realised how much I had disobeyed God, but, despite all my feelings of inadequacy, God showed me from the Bible that he so loved us that he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into this world, to save those that call upon him, from their sins.
God had been working in my life and, towards the end of my first year in Sheffield, I confessed all my sin and put my trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, the one who loved me and died for me.
Since that point, God has continued to direct and help me in my day-to-day life. The Bible does not promise Christians an easy life; it can be extremely hard at times. But God has promised to never leave or forsake his people. He has cared for me and my young family in wonderful ways, on a number of occasions.
One of these times was when we were involved in a horrible car accident, on Christmas Day, in 2009. Thankfully, God spared us all from death, but the accident reminded me again how fragile our lives are. We take so much for granted. We assume we are going to live many years, but who are we to have such thoughts?
The Bible teaches that our lives are completely in God’s hands and one day we will be judged by him for the lives we have lived. Where do you stand with the Lord?