Julie lives in Hitchin working as a lecturer in further education. She is a member of Grace Baptist Church and here tells her story about how she became a Christian.
What began as a range of hostile emails to various Christian anti-abortion groups, led to my participating on a Christian discussion forum. I enjoyed the challenge of this, often boasting to my students of my “victories” in arguments. After some months I began to be more than intellectually curious and found I was battling against a heart which wanted to ask “are you there God?” As the curiosity grew, so did the conflict.
Partly in response to a challenge and partly as an attempt to just end a journey that I had never imagined finding myself on, I decided to go to church. Apart from a couple of marriages and funerals, I had never been to a church service. I sat for three weeks outside Grace. I watched. My pride hurt. When I finally made it through the doors, on the way in and out ensuring that nobody I knew would see me. For three months I listened and the conflict and frustration grew. For some reason I couldn’t just quit and “‘walk”. I could only walk with the ammunition needed to justify my original position. After that, God became a reality.
I knew He was there. And I directed all my anger at Him. For over thirty hours I struggled with God. No sleep and no work. I tried to ignore Him by desperately convincing myself that His reality was in fact just some psychological phenomenon. If I ignored Him, stopped going to church and stopped reading the Bible, I would soon recover. I went to bed early on the Monday night quite at peace with this. At one in the morning I found myself wide awake. And I just sat there. Through what seemed like an eternity, a sense of nothingness just grew and grew—beyond a mere negative emotion—beyond depression. Absolute nothingness. And then I was made aware of the presence of Christ.
I did not see or hear anything but my very being knew His reality and His presence. And I knew what He was saying: that’s enough now. He was right. It was enough. During the moments that followed which brought an end to my blindness, I did not intellectually decide to adopt some man made principles. I did not reach out in human desperation to some therapeutic humanly constructed knowledge form. I did not even go “all religious”. I entered a relationship with my God who had hung on a cross for me so that at that moment I could finally be made right with Him-so that I could finally know Him.
I had done nothing to deserve this mercy from God and everything to be righteously condemned. This condemnation wasn’t because I had in particular led a bad life. This condemnation was righteous because I simply did not know His reality and the forgiveness freely offered through faith in the cross of Christ. On reflection I believe that the nothingness I experienced during those early hours of the morning was but a tiny tiny glimpse of what it is to be separated from God. It is only due to His Grace that I will not face such a thing for eternity after my death.