When I was a boy
I was brought up on a beef farm just outside of Glasgow with my Mum, Dad and three brothers. The farm is a lot of hard work, but I do love the way of life it offers. When you were younger, you were never short of a space to put down jumpers for a game of footie!
As a teenager I was happy and contented and very active in sports, some of which I played at a competitive level. At weekends I enjoyed the company of friends over a few drinks and knew how to let my hair down in archetypal youthful fashion. There were some fleeting moments of trivial consideration about God and Christianity; when Im older, I thought, it would be good to attend church more often. However that kind of thinking was about to change¦..
At seventeen I was starting to ask some of lifes big questions. Was there more to life than what I already knew, and already had? Soon I was to discover that fullness of life, peace, joy and hope for eternity comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ. A life held together by Gods salvation, forgiveness and righteousness. The thing that pricked my conscience was a simple hypothetical story that I read about three young friends who were killed in a road accident ¦ and so reached the gates of heaven.
Church and Sunday School? ......boring!
As a child I went to church and Sunday School every week and continued going until my late teens. Given all the opportunities I had to listen and act on what I was being taught, I wasnt remotely receptive and did not appreciate that what was being said had any relevance to my life. My distinctive memory from going to church as a child was of being bored. Having said that, if you had asked me at the time if I thought I was a Christian, I would have mistakenly said that I was. This was in spite of not even really believing there was a God, and doubting that Jesus was any more than a good moral teacher.
From the ages of about 18 to 26 I didnt give any thought to God or religion in general. However, even through these years if you had asked me, I would have STILL said I was a Christian. I could compare myself with most people I knew and say I was in the top 10% œmost moral among them. I had no problem with how I lived my life and had no idea that I needed forgiveness for my sins.
In 2006 things began to change for me when I moved job and met my wife to be. Soon after meeting Carren I became aware she was a Christian and after various discussions was finally persuaded to come along to church in the January of 2007. At the 1st service I attended, I remember someone giving his testimony where he told of putting his trust in God and noticing an immediate change in his life. Until then, I hadnt fully appreciated that by being a Christian and trusting God that you would actually notice palpable differences in your life. I had thought being a Christian was merely a title.
I had thought being a Christian was merely a title.
I then started attending church regularly but still had lots of questions. When trying to decide if Christianity was plausible or realistic, I focused on things like the creation, the flood, the parting of the Red Sea etc. From my perspective, I couldnt see how these things were possible. I didnt realise at this time that all things are possible for God and in fact was probably very impressed with my own knowledge! It hadnt occurred to me that these were all common objections to Christianity and that there is a wealth of resources which try to explain some of these things more fully. For the first time, I actually questioned that I may have been wrong about some of my fundamental objections, and that there were alternative views other than those presented in the popular media. However, I still hadnt thought about some of the most important things who Jesus was and what he meant to me.
I seemed to Miss the Point
As a child I attended church every Sunday with my family, but I didnt pay much attention. Church didnt seem very relevant to me and despite going for many years I seemed to miss the point! I thought church was for good people and to be honest I found it hard work. In my teens I drifted away.
As I progressed into my teenage years and early twenties I developed an unhealthy obsession with alcohol. I used this drug to escape from life and, when I eventually admitted that it was a serious problem that was ruining my life, I discovered that I was unable to stop drinking.
Hitting the depths of Despair
I tried to tackle my problem by putting every ounce of effort into it that I could, but it was to no avail. I was a prisoner to alcohol and it had mastery over me. I reached a point in my life where I couldnt imagine life with or without the bottle, and as I continued to live and do things that were contrary to my character, I hit the depths of despair.