For those of us who weren’t born into a spiritual family this is a very important question. I was 57 years old when I was finally in a state of mind to listen to God’s call – and I’m so glad I did!
This blog tells how God called me and how I responded. It will be different for everyone but you should be ready to respond and start your journey should the time come. It’s worth noting that God will give you opportunities to walk away from him. It’s always your choice.
As a younger man I recall asking myself important questions such as:
- Why was this wonderful planet created and when?
- Why are we here and what’s our purpose?
- Why are there so many different types of people, good and not so good?
- If death is really the end, what’s the point of living?
- Why do some people seem to ‘have it all’ yet others have nothing?
Over the years I’ve met a few people who said that they followed Jesus and they did seem to have a certain ‘relaxed air’ about them. I remember thinking that I would like to feel that way, but I can now see that I was too busy working, paying the bills and providing for my family. In short – I was too busy and materialistic to hear God’s call.
Life’s adventures eventually took me abroad and I was happily enjoying semi-retirement. I thought that I had finally achieved my ambition and was looking forward to a future in the sun, sea and mountains.
To add to my contentment I was building a new camping business, which my grandchildren could choose to become involved in at a later date.
My new business was progressing well and I was integrating into the local and wider community.
However, there was suddenly a family difficulty that meant that I needed to return to the UK urgently and probably for some time.
I spent hours thinking and deciding on the best strategy to return to Wales, finding somewhere to live, yet still keeping the campsite in good order while I was away. To compound the problem I had no means of earning an income in the UK.
During these periods of thought I also reflected on instances in my life where, given the opportunity, I would have done things differently and treated some people with more compassion. I also decided that bearing grudges against others was not a good thing. Age and experience can be a wonderful thing!
Little did I know that God was listening to what I know now was my repentance. For me, it wasn’t anything dramatic. It was simply a quiet conversation with God.
A few days later, rather stressed, I found myself praying, something I hadn’t done since my school days. This time, however, it was different. I really wanted and needed God’s help. I remember promising that if I got back to the UK I would find a church and follow Him. Then, within days everything fell into place and my return to the UK was arranged. Even my friends were astonished as to how suddenly everything happened!
Settling back in Wales was very difficult but I got myself reasonably well organised and started putting my life back into order. However, I never forgot my promise to God, which I definitely wanted to keep. I need to stress that it wasn’t simply a need, but a deep-rooted desire, which drove me to succeed.
In retrospect I can see that my desire to follow God was tested several times, one of these times was when I became ill and was hospitalised. Other difficulties also presented themselves but I just worked through them. I could so easily have concentrated on my own needs and the needs of my family and not even considered God.
As I considered the best way to connect with a ‘church’ I did start to have some doubts (being tested again?) and asked myself questions such as:
- What will others think of me?
- Should I worship God on my own and just follow the Evangelical churches on TV?
- Some ‘friends’ said that ‘church-goers’ are just looking to fill their empty lives with something to do.
Oh, how I laughed! At this point my life was incredibly busy and rather stressed. It was far from empty. I chose to ignore these people.
Once God calls you, the questions above, and much, much more become irrelevant. I can only say that if you follow God you’ll discover many answers for yourselves, as I continue to do each day.
I did a fair amount of research and the only ‘church’ organisation that I felt comfortable with was the Christadelphians and I had never even heard of them!! I would recommend their free and without strings attached one-to-one Bible course to anyone searching for God. I found these sessions incredibly helpful to increase my knowledge of the Bible. Though I’m not good at remembering things I’m improving … slowly. 🙂
I’ve been with them for over three years now and what a wonderful journey it’s been. It’s worth noting that before I opened the Bible for the first time I had not read any kind of book for over forty years. Yet I had no real difficulty reading the Gospel.
Interestingly, since following the Word of God, my life has become far simpler and it now has true meaning and purpose.
Every day I thank God for hearing my prayers and opening my heart and mind to answer his call.
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”