As long as I can remember, I have known there is a God. I was christened as an infant and choose to attend church in my early teens. I was confirmed when I was 14 and had a relationship with God, but I always struggled with fully committing myself. I thought it would be better to wait, till I was better person, till I had sorted my life out and till I could come before God a more worthy person. I felt deep down that full commitment to God and the life he wanted me to lead was too difficult and would require too much change; change that I was not sure that I was really capable of and to be honest was not sure that I really wanted to make. I struggled with relinquishing control of my life to God.
I went to university and drifted away from the church and from God. Then God changed the direction of my life and I moved university and spent my final 2 years at Durham. There, God surrounded me with committed Christians - in my corridor, on my course, practically everyone I met and became friendly with was a Christian. They encouraged me to go back to church and learn more about God.
I spent the next few years going to church and Christian groups, but I still felt inadequate, holding back on committing myself fully to God until I could be a better person, more able to serve Him. I was held back by all the wrong decisions and actions I had made in my life.
At an evening service at my church in Edinburgh, some people were going up to the front to be ministered to. One of my close friends went up and she was crying, I went up to comfort her and as I sat down, I was gripped by a sudden crushing pain in my chest and I started crying. This came out of the blue and I wasn’t sure what it was about. I was bent double with pain and tears and someone I didn’t know came to sit beside me. I didn’t look up, this girl just started to talk to me about my life and my struggles with self-worth and the feeling that I would never be good enough to make the grade. She talked to me about the crushing pain in my chest and details about my life and concerns that no-one could know. Know one but God of course.
God spoke through this girl to me. The pain I was feeling was the burden of my guilt, causing a separation from God. God let me know that He loved me, even this broken, crushed me with lots of faults. He made it clear to me that I didn’t have to wait to make myself a perfect person to be with Him, that it was not possible for me to do this, that He had done it for me, through Jesus Christ. All I had to do to be with Him was to accept this. And the light switched on! Suddenly I realised that I had been striving all this time to do the impossible. I couldn’t be in a full relationship with God because He is perfect and I am not. No matter how much I tried, I was never going to be able to achieve this. I understood for the first time, that Christ led a perfect life, but died on the cross to pay the price for my wrongdoing. In rising again, he conquered sin and death for me and enabled me to be in a right relationship with God. After years of pointless striving, in a moment, I was released from the burden of my guilt and this was replaced by an amazing hope in the Lord. This is a hope which I have never lost.
I wanted to speak to the girl who was talking to me. Throughout all of this, I had not spoken or looked up. Now I was less than presentable as you can imagine from crying for a long while. I could not speak to this person without blowing my nose! I unfortunately did not have a tissue and was not relishing the thought of using my sleeve! At the moment I was inwardly contemplating this dilemma, the girl said to me, ‘God had just said a very strange thing to me, he just said - give the girl a tissue’ and she did. And so, not only do I have confidence in the fact that God is concerned with the big things in my life, but I know that he cares about all aspects of my life, both big and small. Gosh that makes me feel special and we are all special to God in this way. Isn’t that amazing?
That was 12 years ago. Since then, I have known that God is with me. Like everyone, I have been through ups and downs and struggled with different aspects of my life and the changes that need to be made to live life as God wants me to. But it isn’t a case of changing my life so that God will save me; it’s a case of changing my life because I have already been saved through Christ.
Even after all these years of being a Christian, I have still struggled with handing the reigns fully over to God in every aspect of my life. But God has made it quite clear to me recently the futility of going my own way in anything. God’s way is the only way that makes sense and I can serve Him best by following the path He has laid out for me obediently and diligently.
So, I want to be baptised today to acknowledge before everyone that Christ is Lord over all my life. I give praise to Him for His amazing grace in saving me and I commit my life to serve Him so that I may run with perseverance the race marked out for me by Him.