Colossians 1:19-20 (New International Version)
19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Thirty one years ago yesterday, my friend Eileen and I, just 16 at the time, went to Redditch College of Further Education, to see a Billy Graham movie. I was working in an accounts office at the time, and my boss, who was also a pastor, had invited me to go.
At the end of the movie, which I believe was called Oil Town U.S.A., there was an opportunity for anyone who wanted to invite Christ to be their saviour, to go forward. To the hymn Just As I Am, both Eileen and I responded.
It seemed a natural thing to answer what seemed to be a call of God, with, "Yes," but I really understood very little of what I was saying , "Yes," to. I was a very raw recruit, strongly influenced by the culture of the 60's and "working class" Britain, as well as a home life that had been unhappy from earliest memory. At 16, on the threshold of my life--a life that could have followed a very different course--I came to a crossroads and took a bloodstained path.
I had always been spiritually open, even as a small child, thriving on the hymns we sang at school and having a dim but real awareness of God. Now he suddenly became personal. A more intimate relationship had begun.
My heart overflows with gratitude for that relationship--that I was given the opportunity to accept Jesus's sacrifice for mankind as for me personally.
The verse referenced yesterday in Edges of His Ways, by Amy Carmichael, also has personal significance. The path of my life has taken me far from home, but he has proved ever faithful.
Psalm 139:9-10 (New International Version)
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.