Pause for Thought with Ray Dadswell: Seek and you will find (continued)

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

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 of them!

Then he asked me to close my eyes and if he could lay a hand on my head. I said yes. Then he told me to ‘ask Jesus into my heart’. Now that felt really woolly, but in obedience I took the risk of faith, even somewhat doubting the thing that I was being asked to do! If Jesus had died on that cross and been raised from the dead, that meant in spirit he must still be alive. Therefore I could invite him to come into my heart.

As I did so, the most amazing thing happened.

With my eyes closed, I naturally saw darkness, but the second I prayed that prayer, I saw a pin–prick of dazzling royal blue coloured-light in the centre of my mind’s eye. Quickly it got larger and larger until the whole of my mind was filled with this penetrating and beautiful light. The pain and dead weight I had felt in my heart all evening, indeed for years, suddenly ripped out of the inside of me and seemingly off my back. I felt incredibly light and opened my eyes in surprise. That wasn’t all. The lights in the room seemed brighter and even my hearing seemed more acute. (To my knowledge, I didn’t have hearing problems.) What in the world had happened? Something! I felt strangely light-headed and wobbly on my feet and reached out for support. The minister smiled at me, but with the shock of what was happening, I can’t remember what he said next.

I do remember, though, that he held out a blue pocket NIV Bible and said, ‘This is for you.’ Amazing.

Then, turning to my friend, the minister told him to look after me. It was 9.30 pm, June 16th, 1986.

The two of us were hungry by now and with nothing much open on a Sunday night, we decided to go to McDonald’s. We sat down and ate. There was tinny recorded music being played somewhere from the ceiling. Everything was spotlessly clean, white and yellow, but what struck me was how dirty it appeared to how clean I felt on the inside. I wanted to get out!

We finished our meal and caught a bus to the college. My friend gave me a booklet: Journey into Life. He told me to read it, share with three people the following day what I had been through in terms of the conversion experience and steps I needed to take now as a new Christian. Then I went to bed.

The following morning was a glorious summer day. I got up and realised, much to my amazement, how happy I felt. I did tell three people what I had done the night before. News of my conversion went around the Christian students at the college like wildfire. The last of the three people I told that I had let Jesus into my heart was one of my anthropology lecturers. He just raised his eyes to heaven as if to say that he had completely wasted his time on me! What also struck me was that even though I had intellectually worked through my understanding of these secular disciplines, it was if my mind was now able to think more clearly about subjects I had learnt and put them into perspective with a certainty that was lacking before. Not that I understood everything, of course!

This euphoria lasted the rest of the day and indeed much of this initial ‘honeymoon’ phase in my journey as a new Christian lasted until some time into the autumn. I enjoyed reading my Bible now, whereas before I wouldn’t have bothered with it at all. My choices and lifestyle started to change, and have continued to do so.

But this high couldn’t last for ever, of course and reality did set in as I came off the mountain top.

The Holy Spirit started to purge my life and heart, drawing me to a deeper knowledge of himself and myself. That’s another story, though.

I have never forgotten or regretted that amazing day 25 years ago, when my whole life was turned around and infused with the very life of God!

• READERS can receive a free booklet, Life, by writing to ‘Pause for Thought’, Beckett Newspapers, 11 Lismore Road, Eastbourne BN21 3BA.