I’d been to Church in my youth, but not much. My twenties were spent living life as though it was only I that mattered. Earning money, driving nice company cars, time with the lads… they were the only things. It was the end of the eighties, and I was having a ball.
I always felt there was something more. I got involved with some charities, took an interest in what they were doing, started to give money. My values were changing, but I was still chasing the bigger salary, the better position… more for me.
Three Christians got in the way of all that. The first was Sandra, a work colleague who could quote any verse of the Bible verbatim. She could be overwhelming at times, but we got on well and ended up having lots of conversations about faith.
Bob popped up next. He spent many hours patiently answering my early questions about Christianity. Bob had a bookshelf at his home, purposely lined with useful material he could give away to people like me. I went away with Journey into Life and Questions of Life by Nicky Gumbel.
Shortly after that, I was in Barcelona for work. I sped read the book over a weekend. Everything was coming together. I wanted to become a Christian, and it wasn’t about just being good, it was about having a real and daily relationship with Jesus.
That Sunday night, I tried to say a prayer that would commit my life to Jesus. Surely it would be easy, some simple words with my eyes closed and my hands clasped? It wasn’t. I wanted to say that prayer but couldn’t, I felt like I was in a tug of war. Then, all of a sudden, a feeling of peace came over me. I said the prayer committing my life to Jesus and went soundly to sleep.
It was time to look for a church. I tried a few but at one, an independent church, Bruce, the pastor, spotted me walking in nervously. He spent the whole service sat at the back of the church, explaining what was going on and just chatting. I’ll never forget the welcome and unconditional love I was shown. I had, finally, found my home in Christ.
What of the 18 years that have followed that Sunday? Well, they’ve been full of trials and tribulations, but Christians continue to get in the way of those too, and I’ve become better and stronger in my faith thanks to them.
As told to Pathways by Steven Buckley
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