I sat in Ashingdon Elim church one evening a few years ago when I wasn't a Christian & life wasn't easy.
There was a lady speaking that night & when she got to the front, she read out a word from God that she said was for someone there that night. As she began to speak it felt like she was speaking directly to me and as she carried on I shook from the inside out.
As much as I tried not to be, I was reduced to tears. This lady said she knew who that word was for & she had a copy for that person if they would see her after the service. I did the only thing that seemed sensible, dismiss the whole thing. That lady's name was Ann O'Brien she didn't know me & I didn't know her.
Needless to say a copy of that word made its way to me. A letter from God, to me. It spoke of how God knew that life wasn't working out, how he saw my troubles & heard my cry. How his timing was perfect & how that he would ultimately bless me.
Thankfully what God didn't include in his letter was how life was about to get tougher. How I would lose everything financially I had ever worked for, how this would lead to the breakdown of my marriage leading me to become a weekend dad & how I would loose my mind & have a breakdown.
However these events would bring me back to this church one evening. An evening where the opportunity would come to accept what Jesus had done for me, & to ask him into my life.
There had been these easy opportunities before, just a simple look up to the person giving the sermon. But this time I had that same feeling I had before. It felt as if my whole life pivoted on that moment, my head felt as if it were a tonne weight. The weight of my heartache & disappointment & fear. But I did lift my head & I made that commitment.
Since then well, life has continued to be difficult like a dripping tap, another hurdle, another set back & it has led me to unfold that word, my letter from God many times. I read it, believe it, I trust in it. But there are times when I have read it & questioned it.
Whilst reading my bible I came to Job 23:8-10, "but if I go east, he is not there, if I go west I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him, when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. But he knows the way I take, when he has tested me, I will come forth as Gold".
I went on to read 38:4-11, "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched out a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone-while the morning stars sang together & the angels shouted for joy? Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment & wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it & set its doors & bars in place, when I said, “this far you may come & no farther, here is where you proud waves halt?"
These verses spoke to me & I have come to the understanding, from the 2nd verse that God, he who created the universe yet knows every hair on my head does not get it wrong, & from the 1st verse, that the dripping tap, eroding at me was & is for the greater good. So that I may become the man God wants me to be.
And so for the first time in a long time I have an ambition, and this is to be the person God wants me to be & to live out God's will for my life.