The Story of how I became a Christian and what it means to me.
If you were to see me in the street you would probably think that I would be the last person who would believe in a loving and merciful God. You see the first thing that you would probably notice about me is my disability. I have Cerebral Palsy, use a powered wheelchair to get around and have a speech impairment. Yet despite these difficulties I am a committed Christian.
You may think I have every reason to be angry and bitter with the world and any God who made it. After all how can someone who appears to have so many difficulties in life believe in a just and loving God? Well, let me tell you a bit about myself, what I believe, and why I believe it.
I was born in 1967 in Birmingham. I was brought up in a loving non-Christian family. I went to a special school in Birmingham, where I became the "star" pupil due to my uses of new technology (computers were very new back then in 1979). I left school aged nineteen with five CSEs and three 'O' levels. I went straight on to Hereward College in Coventry. This is a residential college for physically disabled students. I had a fantastic three years there and took three more 'O' levels, two 'A' levels, and a GCSE. I then came to Nottingham to do a three year sandwich course at Trent Polytechnic, which equipped me with a Higher National Diploma in Computer Studies. I spent my industrial placement year in the Computer Division at County Hall and this lead to a permanent job. I worked for Nottinghamshire County Council for over fourteen years. As you can see, although I am disabled, I have achieved an awful lot. More than I would have dared to dream of in my mid teens.
I didn't become a Christian until I was 22 years old. Before then I thought people who went to church were weird, dull, and gullible. But looking back I actually knew very little about the Christian faith and thought Jesus was a made up character, invented to teach good morals. I was very anti-god because of my assumptions about Christian people and I didn't consider God as a real possibility.
However, when I started at Hereward College, I met someone called Ian and we became very good friends. I knew Ian went to church, so we had discussions about Christianity and I asked all the usual awkward questions. Ian eventually persuaded me to go with him to a Sunday morning service. I went out of curiosity, besides, it gave me something to do on a Sunday morning. To my surprise I actually enjoyed the service despite finding some things quite strange, and I needed little encouragement to go again.
After some weeks of hearing the word of God, I found that the more I heard, the more it made sense to me. As time went on, my faith grew. I could also see where God had been in my life in the past, but I did not know him at that time. I cannot put an exact date on when I became a Christian, but I knew that I could never be right with God, unless I accepted that I was a sinner in God's eyes and by my own doing I could never reach God's standards. I knew that I needed to ask Jesus into my life, and to accept that Jesus was nailed to the cross and crucified, to pay the price for my sins and to clothe me in Jesus' righteousness before God. Once I did this I knew from then on, the Father loves me and that no one can take this away from me!
I was disabled before I came to know the Lord and I am still disabled today, but I still trust in God's purposes and promises to me. Some people might say, "Why me? Why did I end up being disabled?" I say, "Why not me?" Someone has to be the one person in a thousand to have Cerebral Palsy, so why not me? You see, I believe we live in a fallen world and ultimately that is why I am disabled, but God has saved me, is with me day by day, and will take me home to be with him one day! I believe God has a purpose for my life and can use me just as I am and put me in situations that no one else could do. I do not see any conflict between being disabled and being a Christian; in fact I do not know how I managed to cope without the knowledge of the existence of a loving and caring God.
You see without God what is the purpose of our existence? I once heard someone say, "We're born, life is a bummer, then we die". If this is the best we can hope for? Then I think I might throw myself under a bus and avoid the 'bummer' part of life. However, with God there is so much more to live for and so much to look forward to in the future. Once we accept Jesus as our one and only saviour, we receive so many promises from God, here are just some of them:
God loves me, this is what the bible says, "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8-10)
When life gets difficult I believe that, "The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." (Psalms 9:9-10)
God knew me before I was born, as the bible says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalms 139:13-16)
God predestined all my days and has a purpose for each one of them. The bible says, "And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:30-31)
Absolutely nothing can separate me from the love of God. For the bible tells me, "I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
There is a place prepared for me in Heaven were there is no more pain or tears as the bible says, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2) and "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:4)
In heaven I will have a glorious new body and will probably spend the first thousand years running everywhere! Because the bible says, "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Philippians 3:20-21)
These promises are so precious to me and give me great hope and strength. These promises, and many many more, could be yours if you accept Jesus Christ into your life too, and I pray that you will.
Why not visit my church...
Written: October 1998, Updated: August 2012.
© Copyright 2012 Steve Smith