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Colin Macleod

Being brought up to go to Sunday School and Church was an important influence on my life as a youngster, but this did not prevent me from pursuing interests, activities and pleasures which were far removed from the standard and teaching of the Bible as I grew up. I suppose attending Church and Sunday School was largely a habit and was done out of a sense of duty as well, although I didn't refuse to go because most of my friends went too. However, what was taught and preached certainly didn't touch my heart.

From an early age I would not have classified myself as a Christian, nor as an atheist, but rather as an agnostic. I would look at the starry skies on clear nights and I wanted to believe that God had made it all yet I didn't know who that God was or if He really existed. Strangely enough, I didn't quite make the link between what I had been taught in Sunday School and had heard in Church about God and especially in revealing Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ, and what I was looking for. I suppose I was asking Are you there God, and if you are then Who are you and make yourself known to me.

As a teenager, on the outside I was challenging, rebellious, defiant, tried to be tough, and seemed to be very confident, but on the inside the reality was so different; I was bewildered, directionless, insecure and unsure about life and what it all meant.

I knew of people who had been converted and I equated this experience with a Road to Damascus type of encounter with God. People just became Christians and it was something that happened to you rather than you looking for it. It was some thing that happened totally unexpectedly, out of the blue, when you least expected it and it was out of your control.

Throughout my teenage years I tried out a variety of drugs, drank very excessively at the weekends, began to dabble in occultism type practices which most certainly convinced me of the reality of the devil and of evil forces, and in every way made every effort to find meaning and purpose and above all security. None of these pursuits met that need.

I then met the woman who is now my wife and the mother of our four children, Jessie. Jessie helped out at a local YMCA which myself and my friends went to play snooker, pool , arcade games and to generally hang out. Through time a relationship developed between us and discussions about Christianity, the existence of God and the meaning of life took place regularly. As time progressed we realised that the relationship was becoming serious and I in turn became more serious about my need to know who God was if He was there at all.

I hadn't attended Church for several years and so I began attending the local Free Church of Scotland as well as attending a Youth Fellowship in the YMCA. As soon as I came under the sound of the Gospel all my doubts about the existence of God disappeared because I loved hearing the Word of God being preached and I became convinced through this and through experiences in my personal life that God did exist. l felt so much at home and was made to feel very welcome indeed. At that time my hair was dyed different colours and I had a pony tail with beads in it. I wasn't your typical Church attendant but the people there most certainly welcomed me into their fellowship.

Some people were sceptical about my Church and Youth Fellowship attendance as they thought that this was all for the sake of my relationship with Jessie. This and the fact that Jessie was a Christian and I wasn't caused some trouble for us for some time. However we knew in truth that I was seeking God, the thing I had been looking for for years.

For some time I waited for this dramatic conversion experience to occur and I was focusing on this great experience which I thought you had to have. One night in a sermon the minister made a direct reference to the need that we have to trust not in experience or knowledge but in Christ on the cross dying for sinners. I realised I was a sinner and that this was the key and although I would have wanted a great experience I humbly obeyed the command of the scripture to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to trust in Him as my Lord and my saviour.

I felt no great difference probably because I was anticipating a blinding light and a voice from Heaven to speak to me. Many people said that they were seeing a difference in my attitudes and actions and in the questions I was asking over the preceding number of months but I was unaware of this although I was aware of a change occurring with me. In the following months I was prone to doubting my commitment, questioning whether it was real or not, whether it was of the Lord or not but the Lord kept me and spoke to me through his Word to encourage me on the way. Stop doubting and believe, He told me.

I realise that the Lord sent Jessie into my life and He used her to draw me to Himself. I thank the Lord every day for her and for our four children. Most of all I thank Him that my Saviour died in my place to cleanse me from all my sin, lives now interceding for me and has promised that He is preparing a place for me in Glory. Surely God has been good to me.

Colin Macleod