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Rev Roddy Macrae


I come from an un-churched family in the North West part of Scotland. My father was an alcoholic, and there was often fighting in the home. I was the youngest of 6 and the least able to do anything about the situation. In my time there was a lot of stigma about coming from a broken home, but after a few years of being in a family at war, I was in some way relieved that my father and mother broke up! As far as spiritual things went, the look of Christians would be enough to put you off even thinking about Christianity. They looked really unhappy and though I was not the happiest, at least I looked happier than these guys. However, at the age of about 8, my life took a turn for the worse. My Uncle who like my father, was a heavy drinker, killed himself. It took me some time to get over this. I wondered for a time about the meaning of life even at that age.  I could not answer the question, but life went on and that very important question was not answered at that time.


At the age of 13 I also started to drink. By this stage of my life, I was out of control. No parental guidance or love! One day, after playing a game of soccer, two girls from a local church stopped about 7 of us and asked us if we wanted a ‘tract’. I asked, ‘what’s a tract’? ‘It is a message about God one of them replied’! ‘O no, not the God squad.’  Anyway, after a few awkward questions, we agreed that we would take this tract. I thought that they would then go their way and we would go our way. They thought ‘great we are getting somewhere with these guys!’ So they asked us the question of all questions. ‘Would you like to come to church next week?’ The stunned silence was broken by ‘get stuffed!’ So they asked us to come to a youth fellowship! Why? ‘Well some young people will share how they came to know Jesus and there will be some tea and cakes!’ Come on, that was trendy then. Right where is this church? We agreed to go, just for the food!


Anyway, we went to church the next week and God started to speak to the least likely one of the group, ME! I had realised a long time ago that my life was empty and I had tried to fill it with many things, but with no result. However this little preacher from Ireland started to preach and God started to show me that He was the meaning of life, He was the fullness of life, in Him was abundant life, life to the full. But what on earth do I do to get this stuff into my life? I found it very hard to take in, to say ‘Lord, I want you in my life, I want you to forgive me for my wrong and sin in Jesus name!’ That easy, can’t be? I found it hard in another way. I could not read and write properly at the time (I was not thick- honest. Just did not go to school much and when I did, well nothing went in to my brain). So reading the bible was difficult and trying to pray with people was a major problem. I found it hard to open up to people and though I did grow in Christ, you were expected to do and know it all in no time.


Sadly I ran away from God, for about three years. One day in a pub in Glasgow a non-Christian girl who I knew very well said, ‘Roddy, I know what is wrong with you. You need to get back to Jesus!’ That really bugged me. I did not like it, but I had to face the truth, I knew what was wrong, I did not want to face the facts. Then on another occasion I had been drinking all day with my mates and when we went home about 9pm, I remember looking outside the window. (We were on the second floor.) How or why, I cannot say, but as I spoke to a person walking on the other side of the road, I pulled myself out and sat on the window ledge and closed the window behind me. Thankfully one of my sober flat mates spotted me and though stunned for a moment (I think he thought it was a ghost) ran to the window, opened it and pulled me in with great relief. But it was the next day that broke me. I woke up in a sweat thinking, ‘what if I had fallen’? I could not say that I would have gone to heaven. Just then, I had the picture in my mind of me sitting there and it was as if God had His finger in my chest saying, ‘This is how much I am in control, I can remove my finger at any time.’ Not long after that, I learned to submit to Jesus and I am so thankful for that!

Just a matter of weeks after getting my relationship with Jesus sorted out, I was involved in a car crash. I lost my left eye. I also damaged some of the nerve endings on the top left side of my head. It felt as if my head had been smashed in. I started to panic inside ‘what if I die, what if I haemorrhage? What if? What if? For about thirty seconds or so, my life was spinning away from me, but just then, it was like someone putting a blanket round me, a blanket of peace and the words went through my head, “If you die, you will be with me which is far better, but if you do not die, it will still be to my glory”. I realised then that we are not exempt from difficult times, but we have a great God who gives us grace to get through these difficult times.


These few moments defined in my life. They showed me that there is more to God than we appreciate. There is more to God than theory! God is real. He brings meaning to life. He seeks to bring broken people back to Christ. Since then, I have gone back to school, College and University. I had to learn how to read and write and spell properly. I am still thankful for the radical change and meaning that Christ has brought to my life and I love communicating that wonderful message!

Rev. Roddy MacRae

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