My mum said I used to really enjoy Sunday school as a child. But I gradually came to a point where I didn’t believe it could possibly be true. I was 17, I thought I was indestructible, and wasn’t really looking too deeply into it. I wasn’t a nasty guy or anything; I got on with everyone. But the path I was going down was complete rebellion against God.
Before I became a Christian, I became emotionally and physically ill. When I went to university it got really bad. I was taken into hospital and came close to dying; I had to undergo surgery. It took me about a year to recover physically. But I had become terrified of death.
I began to look for answers to things like ‘what happens after death?’In my foolishness and rebelliousness, I didn’t turn to Christianity. I dabbled in Buddhism, Reiki, Tai Chi, that sort of thing. I was the archetypal ‘wannabe hippy’, 40 years too late. My friends thought I was having a great time going to parties, making films, playing in bands. I was cramming a lot into life. But when my physical illness recurred I became very depressed. I was so stubborn, but I came to the point where I was at the end of myself. I was at rock bottom, with no hope, in utter despair.
God put it in my heart to pick up a Gideon’s New Testament by my hospital bed. It seemed alive. The living word of God soaked into my soul. I was so parched; my soul was starving. After about 15 minutes, I put it back and said, ‘God, please help me.’ I felt a pure love and perfect peace. I describe it as a big, white hug. The Lord had his arms around me and my head was on his chest. I could hear a crowd above me rejoicing and I believe it was as Luke 15:10 says, that ‘there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents’ (ESV).
Mine is a supernatural, 'Saul on the road to Damascus' kind of testimony
Mine is a supernatural, ‘Saul on the road to Damascus’ kind of testimony, but it doesn’t have to be like that. You don’t have to see or hear things; you just need to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your saviour.
You wouldn’t believe how many people in that hospital were praying for me, but I didn’t know it at the time. There were surgeons, nurses, members of my family, many friends, and numerous churches all praying for me. It was incredible. After I was saved, people came up to me in the street to tell me they had prayed for me when I was ill. If you’ve been praying for someone for years, and you feel like giving up ? keep on praying! The Lord hears the prayers of his people.
I live in Stornoway, in the Isle of Lewis, where the famous revival took place. (The 1949-52 revival is the most well-known one.) I’ve spoken to men and women converted then, and it was an amazing time. They don’t talk so much about the angels and the supernatural things that happened, but more about the presence of God. In the Western Isles, by the grace of God, there’s been a revival about every 20 to 30 years going back more than 100 years. No Christian or church is perfect, but there is a lot of prayer here, and there are elderly Christians who pray non-stop.
It’s just incredible being a Christian. The love, the joy, the peace, the happiness I now know as a Christian, I couldn’t have even imagined before I was saved. I’m not saying it’s been easy; there are a lot of ups and downs. I was physically and mentally ill for a number of years, but gradually my health improved. You fall into temptation, you see the sinfulness of your heart and that’s hard. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and fallen flat on my face quite a number of times. But God is our Father, and he helps us and picks us up. As I’ve gone on, I’ve seen that it’s all about Jesus. He keeps us going from day to day. It’s his love. It’s him on the cross.