Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mike's story

We went along to church and to kids' Sunday school practically every week since I was born. As a result I soon learned a lot of the Bible stories and tried to be a nice person. When I was 17 I decided that I really did believe in God, and in Jesus Christ who'd died for me so I committed my life to him.

But my life didn't change. I didn't change what I did with my time, money or friends. Mid-way through my time at university even I could see that this just wasn't working.

  • I'd had a great girl friend when I was 17, but I hadn't had one since - even though I was chasing every girl within a five mile radius!
  • Previously work had been easy, but that term they cranked it up a notch at university and for the first time I really found myself struggling.
  • My dad had been a great rock of stability in my life, but in the same few weeks his work closed down and he was unemployed. No longer was the future certain, and I needed his money to help me get through college!
It was in the midst of this time that I sensed God speak to me (through dreams, the words of friends and sermons at church, a quiet inner certainty - and the words of Revelation 3:15).

What I sensed was God saying, "You call yourself a Christian, but you want your choice of wife and career. You say Jesus is Lord of your life, but what is he Lord of if you choose your family and career? Either be a Christian and let Jesus be Lord of all your life, or none of it; but quit the pretense and stop sitting on the middle of the fence!"

It was a real struggle, because what would I do if Jesus told me to do something I didn't want to do? The worst combination I could think of was being an unmarried priest! How could I do that?!

What brought me through was all those years of Bible stories as a kid: I realised that God had made me, so he knows me better than I know myself - just like a child making a model out of Lego knows better than the bricks what they're constructed to be. And because God loves me I could trust him to want the best for me as well. I needed to understand both, not just a God who knows me, but also a God who loves me.

So, I gave in. I surrendered. I told Jesus that I'd follow what he wanted and consult him before I took my decisions. I began to learn that apart from him I can produce nothing worthwhile, nothing that will last. That decision has led to a fantastic marriage to Cathy, with Chris and Alice whom I adore, some great job choices, and in 2006 a move from England to Missouri...

Trouble is, I keep getting back in control. I keep trying to do what seems right to me. Now, though, I don't stay there - I've had twenty years of discovering that Jesus who made me and loves me really does know better than I do.

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