In 1993 when I was 23 years old I had reached a very dark place in my life. I was working as a car valeter at lyme green business park and had reached the stage where the thought of spending another moment with myself and what was going on in my head was to much to bear. I remember looking out over towards the hills thinking I don’t think I can go on with this any more. It was at this point I felt something take hold of me. I dropped my bucket and sponge on the concrete forecourt and drove towards macc with no idea what I was doing. I parked and knew i was heading for st Michaels church on market place. A service was just ending and I sat at the back and people were walking past me as they left. The vicar came over and sat next to me and I said I needed help. I can’t remember the exact conversation but he went into the back and came out with a why Jesus booklet which i read enthusiastically. I said the prayer in the back and left.
I realize now that it was at that time the Lord was letting me know that he had found me as I was not looking for him and was showing me the way to a relationship with him. I read the prayer of salvation many times that night: please come into my life; I’m sorry and thank you but It wasn’t until 13 years later that I actually reached out and took the hand of my saviour and I felt I had been raised from the dead.
I just want to touch on those 13 years briefly. Even though the Lord had clearly shown me the way to him, I chose to go my own way. I didn’t understand grace or love, I didn’t really feel worthy. During that time it felt like Groundhog Day. I was constantly searching inside, I felt like the human version of google but no results were displayed. But consistently over that 13 year period I remember being reminded of what took place in that church and during that period of remembrance, whether it lasted a few minutes or an hour it felt right, it felt outside of the world I was in and felt peaceful. I believe it was the Holy Spirit during these times reminding me of my need for Jesus and he was my only hope. But still I searched and ran from the one I should have run too.
To an onlooker, even someone close there would have been little evidence of my battle inside. I had my own Business, Good looking girlfriend, lots of money. I had been to and done most things this world has to offer. But beneath the surface I had nothing.
Money and events would offer temporary surreal hope: Holiday coming up; the weekend to get drunk only a couple of days away; a couple of grand in cash under the bed to count and of course the day was only leading up to night when marijuana would temporarily switch off the search engine. Until the morning when it would return with a vengeance I need rescuing.
From the age of 16 I trained in agriculture and worked on various farms for the next 5 years. One farm I worked on had a large flock of sheep and full time shepherd. Often a sheep would need to be rescued and a competent shepherd will do all he can to rescue the sheep. At times a sheep would become tangled with barbed wire round its neck or stuck in a very inaccessible place and due to that animals struggle and inability to surrender to its rescuer it is sometimes impossible to save that animal. I think we are very much like sheep.
My time of rescue came in January 2006 when Maria desperately needed help . As I looked at her just in total need of help I knew there was no help of this world available. As I was saying to her the words “we need God’s help.” I finally let go and surrendered and took the hand of the one who loves me, whose hand had been out and waiting all those years no condemnation only love. The search engine finally showed its result.1 result found in 1 second i am with you.
I felt in an instance solid hope replacing desperation and peace replacing fear for the future and I knew things were going to change.
A couple of days later I got hold of a bible and read.
28 Jesus continued on his way to Jerusalem.
29When he came near Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives (as it was called), Jesus sent two of his disciples ahead of him. 30He said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you. As you enter, you will find a young donkey tied there. No one has ever sat on it. Untie it, and bring it. 31If anyone asks you why you are untying it, say that the Lord needs it.” 32The men Jesus sent found it as he had told them. 33While they were untying the young donkey, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the donkey?” 34The disciples answered, “The Lord needs it.” 35They brought the donkey to Jesus, put their coats on it, and helped Jesus onto it. 36As he was riding along, people spread their coats on the road. 37By this time he was coming near the place where the road went down the Mount of Olives. Then the whole crowd of disciples began to praise God for all the miracles they had seen.
38They shouted joyfully, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven.”
39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell your disciples to be quiet.” 40Jesus replied, “I can guarantee that if they are quiet, the stones will cry out.”
And these words became real and true to me no longer a story and I had revelation of a real god who is alive today and has the authority to forgive sin and wipe out guilt and rode on the back of a donkey for me.
A few weeks later I said my first real prayer with out any guilt really. I had been hopelessly addicted to smoking marijuana for 18 years and had tried in the past to stop with no success at all. One night I asked God to help me give up. I had smoked cigarettes for 20 years I didn’t smoke again after that prayer. One week later I had my last joint and suffered none of the mental and physical withdrawal I had previously suffered.
The following times were amazing as God opened our eyes. Within a year I was married to Maria, we had bought a house and were expecting our first child.
I now know who I am and I didn’t know before. I no longer search at all. Yes life is hard at times but I know being in a relationship with my creator is the only thing that can ever fulfill.
Surrendering to God is amazing as only His way can satisfy. Jesus is the way the Truth and the Life. He is the Way back to God.
I want to thank Jesus the living God for rescuing me.