Pause for Thought with Ray Dadswell: Seek and you shall find

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The story of how Chris Eve made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ ...

My hopes of becoming a career pilot, like my father, had been dashed at age 16, when, to my dismay, I discovered I was colour blind.

During a subsequent seven-year search, with a growing sense of emptiness, lack of direction and longing to find ‘truth’ and ‘life’, I embarked on a degree course in psychology and sociology to further that aim.

Out of the confusion of so much information, I started to realise that the views of great men like Freud, Jung, Marx and Engels had been shaped by their personal experiences of life. They were therefore highly subjective. I believed that there must be one objective truth out there which was solid, not fluctuating and moveable, like the changing wind and waves. There had to be something rock-like that we can all lean on and navigate by.

It had been a shock to be told, bluntly, in my first year at college that I wasn’t a Christian. My nominal Anglical, English background, christening and confirmation, relatively good upbringing, Easter and Christmas service attendance didn’t make me a Christian.

While I had been intellectually converted at this point, I felt nothing in my heart and realised that I was still outside the faith that beckoned me. There must be more! What was I to do? Strangely, I also felt

involved in an acute battle, as if good and evil were fighting for my very soul. I mouthed for help into thin air, hoping that somebody was listening.

A friend invited me to accompany him to church. That first Sunday evening was a shock. We sat upstairs in the balcony while between three and four hundred people sang their hearts out downstairs. I felt very out of it. I had never experienced such enthusiasm before and was glad to get away, yet saddened that nothing had happened to make me feel better. But I had to go

back!

The following Sunday, my friend and I sat downstairs, in the middle of the congregation. The same lively worship occurred, but I felt awful and couldn’t join in. I couldn’t manufacture it.

A short while into the service, the minister spoke out something that was like an arrow piercing my very heart. He asked everyone to close their eyes and then said, “I believe there’s somebody here who is very close, but not quite sure. If that is you, would you like to put up your hand?” My

heart was absolutely pounding with fear at those words and that he knew this about me! Who had told him? I was very suspicious. Nervously, I put up my hand and sneaked a look around at the same time. To my disappointment, about five other hands were up. He said, “Thank you”, and asked us to come and see him at the end of the service.

After what seemed like an age, the service did finish. People started to disperse for tea and coffee and I shifted out of my seat, heading for the front of the church. To my great surprise, the minister came straight towards me.

He asked me whether I was a Christian, to which I replied No. He then asked if I wanted to become one, to which I replied Yes. Then he asked if I believed in God and if I believed that Jesus is the Son of God, to which I replied Yes. He asked if I believed that Jesus had died for the sins of

The world, to which I replied in the same manner. Finally, he asked me if I believed that Jesus had died for me. That was becoming a bit personal.

With that, the minister explained that to become a Christian, I had to repent of my sins, turn away from them and ask God to forgive me. This I truly did as I was so desperate to feel free of the guilt. Then he asked me to close my eyes and if he could lay a hand on my head and I should ‘ask Jesus into my heart’. Now that felt really woolly, but in obedience I took the risk of faith, even somewhat doubting the thing I was being asked to do. If Jesus had died on that cross and had been raised from the dead, that meant that in spirit he must still be alive! Therefore I could ask him into my heart.

As I did so, the most amazing thing happened!

To be continued ...

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P.S. A word from East Side Players: “We are recruiting for ‘In the Den’ which will run at Shinewater Centre for junior school age children, from 9th to 19th August, cost £15 for the fortnight.

More information by email (steffihuxley@sky.com) or by phone: 07729 455412.”