He had a lot to think about as a young 23 year old. A previous Christmas he had spent at Coolangatta with a fellow National Serviceman who had served with him in the Navy. His friend had then returned home to continue his teaching career at a small Queensland seaside town. Then came the sad news from his parents that he had been swimming, felt unwell and soon after had collapsed and died. One friend was suddenly lost. Soon after another of his friends in his football club had been decapitated as his motorbike slid under the tray of a truck on Currumbin Hill on the Gold Coast in wet weather. The loss of another friend.
He had managed to play out another A grade rugby league football season with a dislocating shoulder and even made the representative side which defeated an International New Zealand Maori touring team. However it was either retirement from the game or a costly operation and time off work. The latter was not financially possible. Another loss of close friends as he was no longer part of the team he had played with for several years.
Studies had gone well except for the first of his final Industrial Chemistry exams. A friend who worked in a hospital pharmacy had suggested some tablets which would help concentration. However they had the opposite effect and he felt he had almost failed his pet subject Inorganic Chemistry because he ‘couldn’t think straight’ as he described it. It was then he called upon God for help [if he did exist that is] to get through the other final subjects to pass the year. He promised God [if he did exist] that he would think seriously about Him.
He passed the year well. A bargain with God needed to be kept. So now it was time on New Year’s Eve to act on all the material he had been given by his Christian [whatever that meant] sisters who had tried to convert him. The material had been convincing. He realised that Christ had lived, died and had risen from the dead. He was offering to be the Saviour from sin and to come and take control of any life that was open to him.
As he sat there reading “Peace With God” by Billy Graham, he knew he had to make a choice about the future of his life. He had just returned from walking among the thousands of New Year’s Eve revellers in Tweed Heads and Coolangatta. As he did so, he felt that the eyes of God were on him for every step. He realised that he could no longer hide in a crowd from God. In that small room in a flat in Boundary Street on the Queensland- New South Wales border at 11.45pm he made a decision that was to be the most important decision he would ever make.
He knelt by the side of his bed and prayed a prayer he had read in one of the booklets he had been given. It had been written by a Chaplain to the Queen, the Rev John Stott. It was a prayer based on the simple formula A.B.C.D.
A meant that one had to Admit that one was a sinner in the sight of God.
B meant that one had to Believe that Christ died on the cross to take away one’s sin.
C meant that one had to Consider the cost of becoming a Christian. It was to be a “boots and all” commitment to God! For ever!
D meant that one had to Do something about the situation and that was through prayer to ask Jesus into one’s life.
He prayed the prayer. The very moment the prayer finished, the horns of the cars honked, bells tolled and cries of delight from thousands of people filled the air – because the New Year had come in. Only later did he realise that there was rejoicing in heaven that night among the angels over one sinner who repented and came home!
It is a true story. I know because I was there for every part of the story above. I ended 1958 as someone who had no time for God but I entered 1959 as a brand new person. As the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
I discovered on that New Year’s Eve the truth of the promise of Jesus, that to open one’s life to Him, is to begin a life of never-ending fellowship with Him, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20.
You can know more of what it means to become a new creature in Christ, and what the passage from 2 Corinthians 5:17 involves, by reading a wonderful encouraging story of a man who changed incredibly as he opened his life to Jesus. Just click here on Blog No 106 which I wrote on New Year’s Day 2013. Romantics will love the ending!
Posted on http://www.jimholbeck.blog on New Year’s Eve 31st December 2018