Before I became a Christian I thought Christianity was a thing of the past. My personal view of church was of a place full of old ladies wearing hats and long faces! When I came across open-air preachers I went out of my way to wind them up.
But at that time I didn’t realise that you could know God in a personal way – that he could speak to you and you to him, and that he really answers your prayers. I was a typical young lad, out at the night clubs, discos and pubs, with plenty of friends, enjoying myself.
Around that time, a member of my family got me involved in spiritualism, which at first seemed fine because things seemed to work in my favour. But then the tide started to turn, and an awful heaviness would come upon me, which I could not shake off.
I started to see a doctor but my depression still would not go. One evening while walking home from a friend’s house I thought, ‘My friends cannot help me, nor can the doctor. Who can help me?’
Remember, I thought church was a thing of the past and I wasn’t thinking about God. But nevertheless God spoke to me: ‘Michael, get to church, I want to help you’.
At first I thought I was going mad, but the urge to get to church just got stronger. I did try to go to one particular church, but it was closed and I did nothing about it.
Going to church for a laugh
Then Christmas came, and I went to the pub with the lads. One of them said, ‘Let’s go church for a laugh’. I agreed and we went along, but in my own heart I meant business with God. If God was real, I was going to ask him to help me.
That night I did simply that – I asked God to help me. He heard my prayer, for when I went back to work after Christmas, a Christian lad started working alongside me. After we had talked, he introduced me to the minister of his church, and that same night I asked Jesus to come into my life and save me.
I can honestly say that I got more than I bargained for. I felt a darkness leave me, to be replaced by light – an overwhelming sense of peace that I had never experienced before entered my heart.
The illness I had been feeling completely went. God healed me that night.
The desire to drink and swear stopped without anyone saying anything to me at all. But the greatest thing of all was that I came into a wonderful relationship with God himself. He has answered numerous prayers since then, and I have found him to be my best Friend.
The fear of death left me when I put my trust in Christ. I now know, without a shadow of doubt, that what the Bible says is true – when my life on this earth finishes, I will be in heaven with Jesus. What a glorious day that will be!