What are the defining moments of your life? It really doesn’t matter how old you are you should be able to look back on your life at any stage and see clearly the defining moments.
If you knew me, which of course you don’t, you might think falling in love at 17 and marrying your first love and loving her more now than you did then even though you thought that was impossible at the time.
But that isn’t the major defining moment of my life. Was it my children you ask?Fantastic though they are they still aren’t the defining moments of my life. Nor was the arrival of seven gloriously wonderful grandchildren a defining moment.
It wasn’t academic success, it wasn’t publishing my first book it wasn’t anything at all like that, nor was it chronic illness, disability or a major depressive order. All of these things have pushed me in their own way to the very limits of mental and physical endurance.
No, the major defining moment came in the bath, one evening in the late spring of 1975. I had been ill and off work with an as yet undiagnosed illness. I was waiting for a hospital appointment, the Doctor standing at the foot of my bed had mused out loud about cancer. In those days to me that meant death.
So for several days, possibly weeks I had been preparing myself for terrible news and faced death in every waking thought. I was of course as a young Christian talking to God about it all.
Yes I know it can sound funny but my long long struggle with God had borne fruit after years of thinking and applying some rigorous thought processes I had worked my way through a mish mash of inherited ideas, the cultural mores of time, the arguments against God and finally as was promised if you seek you will find I did find the Creator, The Godhead itself. It blew me away to be honest I had embarked on this because of my girlfriend who went to Church and I wanted to be with her but I wasn’t going to be a hypocrite about it. If I found God then ok if not then no matter what I wasn’t going to be a believer.
What I found in the quietness of my mind and my soul was so intense that I couldn’t possibly do other than believe. I was very much an infant in faith it would be many years of intense struggle and study before I was able to truly articulate and understand, in so much as a limited human mind might, something of the nature and reality of all that is required for real faith.
Anyway back to the bath!
No wait a minute. I want to make clear what was at work in me was prevenient grace. I may have thought I was doing all the work but I wasn’t it my soul responding to the quiet call of God. Not that such a notion or idea was anywhere near my understanding as I slipped into the warm bath that spring evening.
So I lay there tense, anxious and worried. I was just lying there. I began to pray softly, quietly from the heart. Now I don’t try to make deals with God, if I did I would not exactly be talking to the one who loved me in to being, I would be trying to negotiate a deal with a non existent deity. Instead I was suddenly relaxed and at peace and prepared to die. It was not a peace that came from me it was a deep deep life changing peace that fell upon me. Breathing it in I said if I don’t die Lord then you may do with my life whatever you want. I meant it as I have never meant anything in my life.
Life resumed as normal after the bath. I have no recollection what I did nearly fifty years ago before or after that bath. But I remember it still because everything that happened to me after that proved to me that this was the defining moment of my life.
Of what happened next more anon. It is hard to explain the nature of the encounter with God all I can say it was very real, very intense and fifty years on it remains as true as it was then. It was counter cultural fifty years ago to embrace Christianity it is even more so today, it takes real courage to swim against the prevailing tide.
It is in essence a love affair. I love God with all my heart and mind, with every fibre of my being. This is only possible because God loved me first. From that deep deep place came everything I hold dear in life. My family.
I know people have many questions based on misunderstandings about God. I can and will answer anything you ask. My whole life was turned over to God.