My early life was in a caring and settled family relationship. That in itself was a great blessing, something rare and rich and often missing today. My father spent life in military service. He was a man of integrity, reliability and ordered discipline, a great blessing that I have come to appreciate in the latter years of my life. We all need discipline to guide and direct us in an orderly society.
My father passed from this life when I was in my early ‘teens. A regret remains that I missed the opportunity of having a relationship with him when an adolescent. I recall through his long illness he displayed great spirit and gracious character.
Following his passing I continued to grow up with my widowed mother who worked hard to sustain the home without the support of her husband. Again I am thankful for all she undertook for me.
I was always encouraged and directed to Sunday School at the local Anglican church. Churches were very much locality-orientated and summer camps and trips were very much part of church activities. Looking back I had no real interest in the Bible or Christian issues.
My school days and early working life were enjoyed and I had a sense of fun and a carefree attitude. I was actively committed to sport. Rugby Union took up much of my time and attention. I gave many years of fitness and commitment to this game. I enjoyed both it and all the extra activities that were involved, sadly to the exclusion of my young family. Much of the social life style was not what one should be proud of. In all this I had the love and concern of my faithful and loving wife and children. Family life has not been all joy, especially when we lost out first child at the age of 18 months of age from genetic illness.
I can say through all the events of life I was happy and felt I had a fulfilled life, to the exclusion of all else.
My working life was blessed with the privilege of working in a number of overseas situations. This has given me experience of other cultures and life styles. It was at this time I was “press ganged” into helping with a youth summer Holiday Club sport activities for my wife’s church. I expressed an interest in only becoming involved in the sport activities and nothing else. Here I heard adults talking and teaching young people of things in the Bible and it’s central character Jesus Christ.
Unknown to those giving the presentations, they were being used to speak to me. I had a number of questions to ask in regard to Bible accounts and the person of Jesus Christ. I see now the questions were based on “seeds sown” in my early years at Sunday School. Following some discussions with one of the leaders of the Holiday Club I was given a very short book to read entitled “Man Alive – the Biblical evidence for the resurrection”.
I saw from the reading of the book how the birth, life and resurrection of Jesus Christ was an historical and unique historical fact. It’s also a critical issue in regard to each and every person’s life and the truth of a life that is beyond the grave. This man whose name many use as a curse word (one being myself in the past), came to be born, lived a life of humility and care, was cruelly put to death but physically rose from the grave – an event absolutely unique in the history of the world.
My response to the truth set before me was – “if this man has lived, died and come back to life physically there is something extraordinary and significant about him”. I prayed God to forgive me for ignorance and reveal more of His truth to me – and He has continued being faithful in doing that throughout my life.
I can justly and warmly encourage anyone who is ignorant of God, although humanly “upright” in deeds, that life is incomplete and one’s soul is in great danger of final judgment and eternal distress. Only Jesus Christ can deliver us from the wrath to come.