It was when I was 48 years old, that I had my ‘experience’, and here I would like to emphasise that I was not seeking God (I thought I already had Him). I was not troubled or in need of a psychological, religious or any other sort of crutch or support. I had not had a traumatic experience which had thrown me off balance (I have been given all these ‘explanations’) – I was fit, unconcerned, unworried and the familiar service I was attending was trundling along with its familiar lack of impact.
At one point he said that ‘faith by itself was all I’d got’. I sat there as if I’d been pole-axed. I was stunned and appalled. Suddenly I knew that for 48 years even though I’d been standing on the platform I’d never even started the Christian life – more, I didn’t even know what the Christian life was. Had anyone, five minutes before this, asked me ‘What is Christianity?’ I would have confidently said ‘Christianity is the sum total of the teaching of Christ as given in the Bible.’ Now I knew that definition was RUBBISH. Mark you, I didn’t know what Christianity was, but I certainly knew what it wasn’t.
I don’t know a single other word that was in that sermon: I went home with my mind reeling: I never said a word to my wife or my boys: I went straight up to my bedroom, shut the door, and knelt down before God and prayed saying. ‘O God, forgive me for being such a FOOL all these years – but what is Christianity? Show me what it is, and whatever I have to do, whatever it costs, I’ll go that way – but SHOW ME!’ It was a prayer of total ignorance, of unconditional surrender, and I was never so sincere in my whole life.
I didn’t know what had hit me: I only know that something tremendous had happened. Do you know what it was? I’d been converted.