Being brought up to go to Sunday School and Church was an
important influence on my life as a youngster, but this did not prevent me
from pursuing interests, activities and pleasures which were far removed
from the standard and teaching of the Bible as I grew up. I suppose
attending Church and Sunday School was largely a habit and was done out of
a sense of duty as well, although I didn't refuse to go because most of my
friends went too. However, what was taught and preached certainly didn't
touch my heart.
From an early age I would not have classified myself as a Christian, nor
as an atheist, but rather as an agnostic. I would look at the starry skies
on clear nights and I wanted to believe that God had made it all yet I
didn't know who that God was or if He really existed. Strangely enough, I
didn't quite make the link between what I had been taught in Sunday School
and had heard in Church about God and especially in revealing Himself in
the Person of Jesus Christ, and what I was looking for. I suppose I was
asking Are you there God, and if you are then Who are you and make
yourself known to me.
As a teenager, on the outside I was challenging, rebellious, defiant,
tried to be tough, and seemed to be very confident, but on the inside the
reality was so different; I was bewildered, directionless, insecure and
unsure about life and what it all meant.
I knew of people who had been converted and I equated this experience with
a Road to Damascus type of encounter with God. People just became
Christians and it was something that happened to you rather than you
looking for it. It was some thing that happened totally unexpectedly, out
of the blue, when you least expected it and it was out of your control.
Throughout my teenage years I tried out a variety of drugs, drank very
excessively at the weekends, began to dabble in occultism type practices
which most certainly convinced me of the reality of the devil and of evil
forces, and in every way made every effort to find meaning and purpose and
above all security. None of these pursuits met that need.
I then met the woman who is now my wife and the mother of our four
children, Jessie. Jessie helped out at a local YMCA which myself and my
friends went to play snooker, pool , arcade games and to generally hang
out. Through time a relationship developed between us and discussions
about Christianity, the existence of God and the meaning of life took
place regularly. As time progressed we realised that the relationship was
becoming serious and I in turn became more serious about my need to know
who God was if He was there at all.
I hadn't attended Church for several years and so I began attending the
local Free Church of Scotland as well as attending a Youth Fellowship in
the YMCA. As soon as I came under the sound of the Gospel all my doubts
about the existence of God disappeared because I loved hearing the Word of
God being preached and I became convinced through this and through
experiences in my personal life that God did exist. l felt so much at home
and was made to feel very welcome indeed. At that time my hair was dyed
different colours and I had a pony tail with beads in it. I wasn't your
typical Church attendant but the people there most certainly welcomed me
into their fellowship.
Some people were sceptical about my Church and Youth Fellowship attendance
as they thought that this was all for the sake of my relationship with
Jessie. This and the fact that Jessie was a Christian and I wasn't caused
some trouble for us for some time. However we knew in truth that I was
seeking God, the thing I had been looking for for years.
For some time I waited for this dramatic conversion experience to occur
and I was focusing on this great experience which I thought you had to
have. One night in a sermon the minister made a direct reference to the
need that we have to trust not in experience or knowledge but in Christ on
the cross dying for sinners. I realised I was a sinner and that this was
the key and although I would have wanted a great experience I humbly
obeyed the command of the scripture to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ
and to trust in Him as my Lord and my saviour.
I felt no great difference probably because I was anticipating a blinding
light and a voice from Heaven to speak to me. Many people said that they
were seeing a difference in my attitudes and actions and in the questions
I was asking over the preceding number of months but I was unaware of this
although I was aware of a change occurring with me. In the following
months I was prone to doubting my commitment, questioning whether it was
real or not, whether it was of the Lord or not but the Lord kept me and
spoke to me through his Word to encourage me on the way. Stop doubting and
believe, He told me.
I realise that the Lord sent Jessie into my life and He used her to draw
me to Himself. I thank the Lord every day for her and for our four
children. Most of all I thank Him that my Saviour died in my place to
cleanse me from all my sin, lives now interceding for me and has promised
that He is preparing a place for me in Glory. Surely God has been good to