Wow! Another story of Faith and Obedience to Gods call.
We do serve an Amazing God
Mark testimony 08/05/16
I didn’t have any particular faith while growing up. My Dad, a tenant farmer, was probably more concerned with the practicalities of life. Not particularly Christian, not particularly atheist. Stuck in the vast swaths of ‘never really considered it ‘ I suppose. Jesus was mentioned at Christmas, because it was expected, but that was about it.
Church was a very small part of my Grammar school education, over shadowed by achievements on the rugby field, the sciences and results, results, results. Cold pews on a Wednesday morning to be talked at in assembly & Christmas carol services… it was expected.
As slightly angry teenager whose passion was art, I sought solace in music… some fast, angry and loud, some slow and, frankly, miserable. And it fed me to a certain extent. I got a reputation that worked quite well with my ‘Tortured Artist in a lonely Garret’ image of myself.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I’ve struggled with depression throughout my life and as important relationships began to fall apart yet again last year, it became obvious to me that I was also struggling with a cycle. I could build things up, but eventually I always came crashing down to place that wasn’t pleasant, but was very familiar.
So I began a journey in earnest. A drop in centre at Samaritans, a drop in at the Doctors for more anti depressants but they weren’t answers. A hand of help, despite all expectation, from my now fiancée, Ronnie, but still I was looking everywhere else for a solution. Personality tests, TA counselling…they satisfied for a few days, but just resulted in more questions.
Then Ronnie wanted to return to church: she was examining her life too, but from a different place, from a childhood and a lifetime of Christianity. I don’t believe her faith in God has ever faltered but I think her faith in people has. She never pushed me when I questioned her beliefs, merely told me to ask God. And I was curious. So we looked at church websites, and there on St Nics homepage was an Alpha course starting in 2 days time. It sounded like a place to get answers. And the timing was, errr, coincidental.
I started looking into this Bible thing. Something I hadn’t done since school. I still believed the deceptions… fairytales and legends, rewritten like Chinese whispers by a church with its own agenda. But I found that to be untrue. As a historical document the Bible is unprecedented. We have a more certain documentation of the events in the New Testament than we do of Cesar, Homer or Plato. All these factual figures written about 500, 1000, 1500 years after their deaths. The New Testament was written within living memory of Jesus and we have documents from within 100 years of the originals.
It raised Questions: if its message was so persecuted by authority why didn’t people just stand up at the beginning and go ‘I was there, that’s not what happened.’ Why, like the majority of ancient documents, wasn’t it lost? Why did the message spread so fast?
And so onto the Alpha course, where I, admittedly, struggled with the concept of the trinity for a few weeks until I finally figured out that I had no hope of completely understanding the concept of God. Imperfect analogies are the best I could do. In fact, if I could understand it, what would that say about God? That he wasn’t much different to us? That didn’t make sense….
We discussed Jesus’ sacrifice and the change from Old Testament Laws to New Testament Grace, something I don’t think anyone had explained to me before. And I finally managed to separate faith from the church and from religion. I started noticing those ‘coincidences’ in my life and I felt the knocking on the door. Actually it was more an impatient hammering… And when I opened the door a little, I think a foot was firmly stuck in the gap. I believe, in the end, giving my life to Jesus became inevitable. And I had, for the first time I can remember, a feeling of peace.
In the last 3 months, I have read a lot. I have listened to a lot of very good apologists on you tube, and I have prayed. And, of course, we found Kings.I’ve come quite fresh to Christianity, I think: I haven’t a lifetime of confusion and baggage and in some ways that makes it easier. I thank Jesus for being so patient with me and being with me everyday, and I thank God, my father, who I can rely on to pick me up, brush me down, put a plaster on that scraped knee and set me on the path again.