Luke 8:39 NLT: No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.
Why am I writing this testimony? Well God has commanded us to spread the news of his kingdom and all he has done for us. In so doing we can lead those that are lost to this world to Christ Jesus, so they can be saved because of his blood shed for our sin, and his victory over the grave.
Even though I grew up in an evangelical 90’s church in England, I found myself in my late teens and 20’s completely lost and searching for meaning and truth. Sure, I knew about God and Jesus, and the many bible stories I was taught throughout my life; but it wasn’t until I was truly lost, that I truly heard the Good News of Jesus. It reminds me of the scripture Matthew 13:15 NLT:
For the hearts of these people are hardened,
and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes—
so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and let me heal them.
It’s hard to know just how much detail to put in about my life before truly finding Christ and my salvation, but in the briefest of summaries I can say that on the surface I had an enjoyable and relatively lucky childhood – growing up with acres of farmland and freedom. Looking back now I realize that that was very surface level because although I was and am deeply loved by my Mother. My childhood was also filled with adverse childhood experiences such as witnessing domestic abuse, manipulation, criminal activity, and adultery. Throughout all these things I still loved my Dad, and believe he loved me too.
Unfortunately, right amid my formative teenage years, my father died. It was devastating for me. My Dad died in my arms and that morning I changed from a naive child, into a grown-up.
Over the next 15 years, I found myself desperately searching for a place and purpose in my life. All the coping strategies I had developed seemed to serve me well and I was able to (on the outside at least) present as a happy, confident person. I was privileged as a young man to have money, friends, and the freedom to do what I wanted.
However, when those quiet nights set in, and the noise of distractions settled down, there was always something missing, something aching in my heart that wasn’t being soothed by my current life.
That’s when I started searching for that elusive cure to my heartache. For several years I slept with women and men, I went to sex clubs, I was drinking and taking drugs, I was filling my life with any and every pleasure imaginable – but do you know what; when the buzz and adrenalin wore off, there was that ache again. So, I travelled to large parts of the world (still sleeping around and doing drugs), but still, the ache was there.
It didn’t take long for all my efforts to find that cure to begin wearing thin. Then enter the depression and suicidal stage (very well hidden if I do say so myself). I would now go for walks and look at beautiful trees, but instead of seeing their beauty, I would see the branches and think ‘That branch would be great to hang myself from’.
So, in a brief few paragraphs, that was my life, lost and desperate. Then enter COVID-19 and lockdowns! Strangely the COVID-19 lockdown for me was the beginning of the best period of my life.
In the silence and stillness that was forced upon us all with lockdowns, I found myself able to listen to or analyse the ache in my heart. That ache and the accompanying thoughts which I had been ignoring for years were the things I was taught growing up, the truth and message I had heard, but not listened to.
So, I picked up my bible that I had had since I was a child and began to read the New Testament. Initially, I was just reading words, and they didn’t mean much to me, but before long I was drawn into the words on the page, and they were coming alive in my heart – it’s like the words were written for me. My struggles and pain were being understood by a book thousands of years old!
Before long I had a revelation and my eyes began to open, my heart began to feel, and my ears began to understand. Jesus is the key, and God has had his Fathering hand over me all my life. All those times I probably should have died (drugs and stupid behaviors), God was watching over me. I was taken aback by what a faithful, loving God I had, and not only that, but I had the option to have all my past sins forgiven and forgotten through Jesus.
So, I pressed on exploring God’s word, and I found myself in conversation with Jesus and the Father. Incredibly It felt so natural, so loving and so healing. So, one day I sat and gave my life to Jesus. It wasn’t hard or complicated, it was a lovely conversation really. I talked to him about my past, and how guilty and sorry I was for my stupidity.
I was genuinely grieved at how I had gone against God’s ways and hurt him. Yet I was also so thankful and blessed that Jesus has offered me complete renewal and forgiveness. It’s so hard to explain just how amazing it was. For the first time in my life, I took off the mask, and I felt true peace, absolute peace.
Since that day, my heart has not ached. Since that day I have had a peace over my life that blots out anything life has thrown at me. Since that day I have a purpose beyond anything this world could possibly offer me – a relationship with Jesus, and the privilege of serving the creator of all, my Father in Heaven, God Almighty.
Life by the way isn’t easy, I still have struggles and challenges to deal with, but now I do it with the absolute assurance of God’s love and hand over my life. No matter what this world does to me, I am his, and he is mine. What an incredible feeling to walk life with Jesus living in me, and the Heavenly Father’s hand over me, with the Holy Spirit comforting and guiding me – what could be better than that?
My aim in life now is to serve God with all I have, he deserves it, and I genuinely delight in serving him. Serving him brings me more joy than anything life could possibly offer me. On the occasions I do fall into sin, I find myself deeply grieved that I went against my God and Saviour. But he is faithful, and his love continues. As I grow in my relationship with Jesus, I am being transformed away from sin and the ways of this world; and becoming more Christ-like in my behaviours and love.
I also look back at my struggles in life, and now can see God’s hand and wisdom in every situation I faced. All these things have shaped and moulded me into the person I am today, a person who can use these experiences, combined with my faith in Jesus to show love and Jesus to those I meet.
Everyone needs to know Jesus and the salvation he brings. I urge you to please seek him. When you do, when you truly seek him with the truest and deepest heart, your eyes will open to a world of truth that will blow your mind. You cannot imagine just how great he is and how blind you would have been without him.