Thursday, 15 October 2015

How did I become a Christian?

As a child, I was dragged along to Church by my parents, but when a teenager, studying sciences, I couldn’t reconcile the things I heard in Church with my understanding of the world, and I turned completely away from God. After school I enjoyed the single life as an apprentice with Vickers Shipbuilding in Barrow, who then sent me to University to study engineering.
Whilst at Uni I had several friends who were Christians and I always thought that their belief in God was something that was nice for them, but which I couldn’t accept. Over a few weeks a series of miraculous events took place which caused me to rethink my view.
My friend Pauline attended the Baptist Church. She was going to be baptised by ‘full immersion’, going right underwater, in a service one Sunday and she asked me to go. It seemed a daft ceremony to go through to me, but because of our friendship, I turned up. I sat at the back in this strange old building, feeling uncomfortable, thinking what a fool Pauline was for doing this, wanting to leave as soon as possible. But somehow, during that service, the most incredible feeling of peace came and overwhelmed me. It was a wonderful feeling, as if all the cares and worries I had ever had were  lifted and taken off me, and I felt great! This lasted for some days, but I didn’t do anything about it, and soon life returned to normal. 
On a second occasion, a girl who I had been previously going out with invited me to a Christian talk. We had broken up because (she told me) she wanted to spend more time on her studies, and I didn’t really want to go to the talk, but she persuaded me. When we met up outside the venue, I discovered she had a new boyfriend in tow! So much for the studies! Although never a violent man, during the Christian talk which I can remember nothing of, jealousy and anger were coursing through my veins and I determined that I would beat this new boyfriend up once outside. But again, somehow, this same feeling of tremendous peace came over me as I sat there. All the jealousy and anger was washed away - I felt great and no fighting ensued.  I couldn’t explain what I had experienced, but I enjoyed the amazing feelings of wellbeing and contentedness for a few days again. 
A week or so later I was at a student party – good music, good company and quite a few drinks – it was fun! Then I was invited to go on to another party taking place just a few streets away. ‘This is the life’ I thought ‘a popular guy – going from one party to another – what could be better than this?’. En route to the second party I passed Pauline’s house, and so called in to say hello and just casually drop the fact I was on my way from one party to another. But as we were talking I thought, ‘This is great, but tomorrow everything will be just back to normal again – surely there must be more to life than this’. I expressed these thought to Pauline and she replied – ‘There is – there’s God’. Friends had said similar things to me many times before, and I had just dismissed it, but on this occasion I thought ‘Yeah – may be’, and again the same wonderful feeling of peace and wellbeing came over me. 
The next day back in my student room I thought ‘Look – I can’t explain these feelings – it’s nothing that I’m doing, it’s coming from outside of me. They always happen in some kind of religious context – I think God is trying to tell me that he’s there. This is three times it’s happened now – I can either choose to deny it and turn away from it, or I can accept that there must be something or someone there – that God really does exist’. And so, after a time of decision making, I chose to accept that God exists and I asked him to come into my life.  
That’s not the end of the story – it’s really just the start – the start of the greatest adventure of my life. I count myself fortunate that God made himself clear to me – he got beyond reasoning and argument and just showed me he was there – all I had to do was to choose whether I wanted to respond to him or not. Life with God isn’t always easy, but it is fulfilling and rewarding, and knowing you belong to God gives incredible reassurance. I hope that you may find these things too.