Pause for Thought with Ray Dadswell: Personally speaking

Shelley Chapman shares the story of how she made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ ...

“By the time I was twenty-five, my life had reached an all-time low! Not so much on the outside – I had a lot to be thankful for, including two beautiful young children. I had continued to live a ‘rocky path’, but it was more about what was going on inside me. I was baffled by life, confused; I felt unloved and unaccepted; I didn’t have any sense of direction or purpose. I was lost. More

than that, my drinking was getting out of hand and I was miserable. This just made me feel guilty and I knew something huge was missing. Secretly, I wanted to die, to go to sleep and not wake up.

What was the point?

“I started to look for the meaning of life. The Point. Eventually, this search led me to pick up a Gideon New Testament. After reading the ‘Where to find help when ...’ section and looking up all the references, I turned to the sinner’s prayer and asked the Lord Jesus to forgive me.

“I remember saying that I really hoped these disciples were on the level, and Jesus was who he said he was, because otherwise there was no hope for me. I cried out from my heart and took that step of faith that he was alive right then, he was Lord of all and he loved me. Then I dried my tears and

went to collect the children from Sunday School.

“A few days later I had an amazing experience of God. (Remember, this was twenty years ago.) I was putting the milk bottles outside the front door, when a very distinct voice, which was definitely not mine, said kindly, “Sit down, Shelley.”

“I did wonder if I had crossed a line of madness at this moment, and felt sure someone would arrive to take me away. But no-one was there, just me.

“Again, the kind, but authoritative, voice: “Sit down, Shelley.” Empty milk bottles in hand, I duly sat down.

”Now what?”, I wondered. I knew I was already talking myself out of this. It couldn’t actually be happening, surely. But it certainly was.

“The voice spoke again. “It’s going to be all right now. Just let it happen.”

How did he know, that voice, how did he know that it was so not all right, that I was desperate inside for rescue? Once more, “It’s all going to be all right now; just let it happen.”

“I wasn’t sure what to do next to I stood up, sat down and then changed chairs. But this time as I sat down a great flood of peace flowed through me from the top of my head. It was like someone had cracked open an Easter egg over me, and peace flowed through me, down through my arms to the ends of my fingers, down through my legs and to the ends of my toes. I could feel it spreading through me, and it was the most wonderful feeling I have ever had, ever, ever. It

completed me, it filled the void, I was HOME. I didn’t want it to finish, didn’t want it to leave. I just closed my eyes and bathed in it. It was safety and fizz and home. It was The Point. Jesus had answered.

“This all took place just before Easter. As I experienced this new presence of God within me, as I enjoyed a relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit, I was full of a new sense of joy and wonder. The fear had no power now, because he was with me. This was my first real Easter.

“I have been completely saved by grace, undeserved favour, and it blows my mind that God would do that for me, for all of us. Easter for me is an opportunity to celebrate and remember the main event – Jesus the Sacrifice and the resurrected Lord. My Saviour, my Friend.”

• Lee Strobel’s challenging book ‘The Case for Easter’ is available for anyone who would like a copy, free of charge. Just write to ‘Pause for Thought’, Beckett Newspapers, 11 Lismore Road, Eastbourne BN21 3BA.