Let me share about a man who:
- Did not grow up in a Christian household
- His father suffered from alcoholism and left when he was twelve
- Had a relatively poor upbringing and apart from the occasional religious education class had no concept of Christ or the joy of salvation.
After leaving school this fellow joined the RAAF and got a taste of the world and realised that it was not doing him good. With no real goals or direction, he dropped out of his unit and worked in hospitality for year, discovering more of the world’s false offerings, which left him feeling even more empty.
After recommencing his study and recovering from a failed relationship he moved in with some friends in Brisbane, sleeping downstairs next to the laundry for a few months until a room was cleared. It was here that he first had the gospel really explained to him by some of the friends and he realised, to his dismay, that he liked these Christians and saw something in their life that was different. After many debates about God, he still resisted God and then fell in love again and moved north to work in the mines.
Two turbulent years followed where he was married, contracted glandular fever, bought and sold a business whilst working full time and studying part-time. Meanwhile, his marriage was struggling, his wife had miscarried, and he had no genuine friendships. He says that he was thinking more and more about the Christians he had come to know and how they really had what he was looking for: peace and joy.
Then something happened that changed his life forever. One evening whilst ill, he stopped breathing and realised that he was fully aware of the fact that his life was slipping away; it felt like something had him by throat and his life was draining from him, but he could not stop it or wake up. This was it. At the last moment he could see his eternity, and it was the darkest, most terrifying blackness he could ever imagine, and the one thing on his mind was JESUS. With every last ounce of life he cried out to Jesus and immediately he felt himself being pulled away from the darkness and then he remembers his eyes opening; he was in his body, but it was not breathing and he could not move it. It was the most bizarre feeling of being fully awake in a dead body. He managed to take a breath, and another and felt the life come back to him. He started to tremble as he realised what had just happened. Then, for the first time he could remember, he prayed. He said thank you to God and said he will do whatever God asks, but PLEASE do not let him go there.
The next week on a study trip, he was speaking to an elderly couple on a plane flight who just happened to be Christians and just happened to be in the Gideons International Ministry. After chatting for while, the Gideon gave the young man a small New Testament and after showing him the road to Salvation in the back, he encouraged the young man to make a decision for Jesus.
How was that Gideon to know that as I took that Bible, after what had happened to me, I would have been no more surprised if Jesus himself had handed it to me.
That night, alone in my college room, I read the back cover of the little Bible and then finally, after three years of running, I gave my heart to Jesus.
Now my wife is saved, and my three children love the Lord, love going to church with their friends and I am so, so grateful for the many good friends and blessings in my life.
When I was studying, I managed to get quite a few extensions on my assignments and it seems that God has given me the most important extension of all. He has allowed me to stick around to share his love with as many as I can. I hope that you will also stop running from God before it is too late and allow him to fill your heart with peace and eternal joy: all you have to do is ask.
“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come into him and dine with him and he with me” – Revelation 3:20