I can barely let the 17th October pass without some reflection on the anniversary of my conversion…or at least the beginning of my conversion! I will never forget it and it is etched on my mind as a distinctive turning point, a decisive moment which has shifted the direction of my life more than once, but certainly then.
What was it that moved me towards following Jesus? Deep satisfaction and questioning the meaning of it all as a 15 year old boy with a head older than his years. The love, compassion and acceptance of a loving church family, the likes of which I’d never experienced. The engaging teaching of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel (which is as far as I had got in my little red Gideon’s bible from school) and the inescapably fascinating character of Jesus himself, who, it was claimed, could ‘save’ me.
Save me he did. I understood it simply then, and whilst that simple trust remains, I am now much more aware of the vastness and significance of that work he began in me back then. He saved me, largely, from self-destructive tendencies. He saved me from wandering listlessly through life. He has given purpose, direction and a life goal second to none for me. He saved me from a crippling sense of alone-ness and I’ve honestly never been unaware of his presence…even when life has taken me to the depths I’ve know for real that ‘underneath are his everlasting arms.’
I never have to sit down and make all this up, because it’s the living reality of my every day. I don’t always find it easy to understand how God is so apparently vague to one person and totally not to another, but this is Mystery we are dealing with here and I guess if we could explain it all we’d not be dealing with any God at all. But ultimately, I believe God can be known at least in part…and enough to open the vaults of transformation for every person.
My faith has not remained static over the years. There have been shifts in revelation, understanding, theology and perspective but when all is said and done, I know that I remain held in an embrace that is much bigger than my own and that makes room for all sorts of possibilities. I don’t think my experience is rare or restricted – I believe he invites everyone into this same embrace, however understood. My life’s goal is simply this: that others might encounter him too.
I am so thankful for these 21 years. I’m trusting him with the rest.