I went for a coffee upstairs while waiting for my grandchildren who were at the Church summer club on the ground floor. All the others in the room were women, except for an older man, so I went and sat by him and chatted. He was a retired lorry driver and, like me, was waiting while his grandchildren had their fun at Church club.
He was very friendly; and as we had nearly 2 hours to kill we had quite a long conversation. Somehow we got on to matters of faith. He had attended Sunday School as a lad, like most of our generation, but that was the last of his regular churchgoing.
I explained the steps I had gone through while trying to find out what was ‘real’ in the spiritual realm. I went on to share my testimony in some detail, which caused him to realise that that there were such things as ‘God encounters’. I explained how I had got down on my knees in my bedroom and confessed my sins (repentance) and asked Jesus to forgive me. I also testified how the next day on the way to work everything seemed new – even the colours of the world looked brighter!
A subsequent experience several days letter led to my encountering God’s love in a very powerful and personal way. God showed me how much he loved ME! As I grew in the Christian life God showed me his heart for the poor, the needy and the rejected, which led me to volunteer roles on the street and elsewhere where I encountered those with many kinds of problems. Most of those I met had terrible childhood experiences, leading me to realise that such damage led to severe knock-on effects in later life.
Soon after becoming a new Christian I had had a conversation with a (supposedly Christian) woman who said to me that the miracles that Jesus did as recorded in the Bible ‘never really happened’ – in her view these ‘accounts’ only illustrated ideas or concepts. I had been appalled at this, so much so that I went straight home and cried my eyes out- at this woman’s offence against Jesus and his works. As I was weeping in my bedroom Jesus suddenly appeared in my room, put his arms around me and comforted me. I never saw his face, but I recall thinking afterwards ‘how brown his arms are!’
Back to the present. My wife entered the room, I introduced my lorry driver friend who then said, in a humorous way: ‘your husband’s trying to convert me!’ My wife replied: ‘yes, I can imagine that’
One regret: I had omitted to bring any gospel tracts with me. My friend didn’t use the internet, so a tract would have been a nice parting gift…………..
Before we parted to collect our respective grandchildren, he said to me: ‘I appreciated our chat. You have a very gentle and respectful way of putting these things across’.
Bible: 1 Peter Chapter 3 Verse 15: ‘ But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect’.