My Journey Begins
It was May 2012 and I was back in HM Prison Dovegate. I had been in and out of prison from an early age for various offences, mostly relating to violence. This time l was serving a relatively short sentence by my standards, and because of this was not required for employment by the jail. Whilst there I was given the opportunity to attend a class that the chaplaincy was offering to all prisoners out of work. The theme of the class was to bring the word of God to those who had not accepted it into their lives. My initial reaction to the invitation was one of amusement and ridicule. However, after contemplating over it for a while I decided to go along. Thinking I was going to shed some light into the worlds of the people there, I attended armed# with numerous facts ranging from Darwin and beyond.
Convinced I could free these people from the cult they had been brain-washed by, I was as controversial and critical as I possibly could have been. The people there welcomed me and listened to my doubts and ridicule as well as the many facts I had to offer of why the human race was one formed by chance and not by design. Nevertheless no matter how hard I debated the facts of life with them, they stood firm and focused on the answers their Bibles had to offer. They openly shared these theories with me, but I perceived them as being small-minded and over the short period of time I spent with them this Infuriated me. Still back I'd go, doing my very best to find fault and contradiction to what they were saying; to which their reaction would always be one of the same - a warm smile and some soft words along the lines of 'Why don't you just give God a chance to come into your life?' Frustration and confusion began to grip my mind and I started to question why was I being so bitter and angry towards these people who were warm and welcoming? What was making me feel this way and why was I so negative towards their views? Now under a new frame of mind of, 'what did I have to lose?' I began ta ask, if God was real, then how could I have him in my life? Much to the joy of those who had been so patient with me, I was armed with a selection of books, one being the Bible, and many prayers, and away l went released back Into society.
Upon my release I was soon visited by my old friends and as usual found myself presented with options to make lots of money very quickly. Offers that usually would have been too good to refuse, only this time I found myself questioning whether this was really what I wanted to be doing? And in doing this was I giving God a chance to come into my life? With these questions In in mind, for the first time, I got down on my knees and I genuinely prayed to God. My prayer was short; the words were simple but from the heart. I asked God that if He was real, to reveal himself to me so that I may believe in him, and if he did I would follow him all the days of - life. The Bible says, "Seek the Lord while you can find him; call on him now while he is near.'
What occurred over the next three days was, for me, unquestionable. God spoke into my life in the form of many signs and wonders unique and personal to myself God reverted and gave instructions towards accomplishing many different things - one example being the church he had prepared the way for me to join. A random church as far as I was concerned, however my attendance I learned that this specific church had recently created a department that specialised in reaching out to men of the same gender and that possessed the same tarnished backgrounds as myself . The church had been looking for such men to help them to know the best methods they could use to reach out to these sorts of people.
This God-incidence and many more were shown to me over this short period of time, but the one thing that still overwhelms me to this day, the one thing that would have pleased him most to reveal to me was his Son, my Lord and my saviour, Jesus Christ. With these revelations I began to read my Bible and familiarised myself with this glorious man. In doing so I began to exercise has teaching and follow in his ways; the transformation that took place within me was evident for all those around me to see.
This was met with mixed reactions from family and friends - mostly negative towards that path I'd chosen. Nevertheless, I stood bold and strong, and although I bad never laid eyes on him, or my hands had never physically touched him, I fell in love with this man called Jesus, I began to trust in him and very quickly he took control of my life. All the ideas and assumptions that my life had been built upon, whether good or bad, were eradicated by the truth Jesus brought. It was clear to me now that it was I who had been living in the dream world. Everything began to look very different and I started to interpret things for what they really were. In these instances I had the realisation that everything natural occurred just for me. The stars were shining just for me. The sun would rise and fall just for me. The birds were singing just for me. Somehow I knew and was sure that Jesus had created everything out of his love for me! No longer did I feel alone. Someone now finally understood me, and the feeling of completion spoke into my inner being. The Bible says., 'There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.' (Galatians 3.28).
Modelled into every human heart is a streak of freedom, an impulse that once awakened cannot be ignored. This spirit of freedom cannot be bound in chains; instead it will always prevail in freedom. Jesus had awoken this spirit within me, and in doing so set me free - free from a prison that had been created by myself, not a physical prison, but a prison for my mind and soul. For this I will always give thanks to my lord and saviour, sing his praise, and tell others of his miraculous works. In him I am revealed - all my faults, my sin and shame he takes upon himself, and my dreams, mind, body and soul all belong to him. You see none of us are perfect - heaven knows, I'm not - but I also know Jesus loves me, and in the end that's all that's going to matter. My final words are ones similar to those spoken to me at the beginning of my journey: no matter what your age or where you're from; regardless of what you've done or believed in in the past: give Jesus a chance to come into your life. Seek him with your heart and he will find you there.
God bless you all.