Testimony of a Young Man
TESTIMONY OF A YOUNG MAN
For about 6 months before this camp I had been troubled in my mind about questions such as ‘Is there really a God?’ and ‘How can I know for sure?’
by Gary Brady
[The following testimony was given by a young man of 16 at a recent meeting in a church in North West London where the gospel is faithfully proclaimed but where conversions have been few and far between in recent decades.]
I was brought up in a godly Christian home. My parents have read the Bible with me and prayed with me from a very young age. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know the Bible stories or the basic Christian teaching.
It was only when I reached years 4 and 5 in school (age 8-10) that I realised I was being brought up differently to everyone else around me. Only very few other people from my school ever went to church, whereas I went every Sunday! I never questioned going to church, it was just part of my weekly routine. In the Sunday school and at the church youth group I learnt a lot about Christianity but I never applied it to myself or to my life. Church was just a Sunday thing and I never thought about it on any other day of the week.
When I was 10 I went on my first Christian camp. This was in Bryntirion in Bridgend in South Wales and was the first time I had got to know lots of people my age with similar Christian backgrounds.
Every Summer since then, I have attended an outdoor camp in Tywyn, Mid-Wales, and it was shortly before this camp in 2001 that God began a work in me.
For about 6 months before this camp I had been troubled in my mind about questions such as ‘Is there really a God?’ and ‘How can I know for sure?’. These questions had arisen because through the preaching of God’s Word I had come to realise that I was a sinner and that God was displeased with me. I found out that because God is all powerful and holy, hating sin, he would punish me for every sin, both big and little, that I had committed. The more I thought about this the more I realised that I would be going to hell if I didn’t repent. I began to understand that my whole life was characterised by sin and nothing I did or thought was truly good.
However, from the preaching of God’s Word I didn’t just come to know my guilt, I also found out how God would save me from my sins. I learnt about the way Jesus, God’s Only Son came to earth as a baby, lived a perfect life
– not committing even one sin, and died on the cross in place of those who believe in him. Then, on the third day he was resurrected from the dead, conquering death and opening the way into heaven.
Knowing this filled me with hope because I saw the escape route from hell. I knew that if I trusted in Jesus I would be forgiven for all my sins and could spend all eternity with God. Finding this out and knowing that it was the truth convinced me that there was a God and that everything said in the Bible was the truth. I knew I had to confess my sins before God and trust in Christ for salvation.
It was with this conviction of sin and this yearning to be with God, that I went on camp. The preaching at this camp was excellent, and I understood as I had never understood before. On the Sunday after camp God spoke to me during the sermon and I prayed for forgiveness and put my faith in Jesus, but nothing happened, and after praying this several times over the next month I gave up and began to have serious doubts about Christianity and about whether what I thought was truth really was. It was at this time that I began to hear phrases such as ‘God never turns anyone away’ and ‘Those who seek me will surely find me’. And I started praying again. After camp I had started to read my Bible properly and I continued this, eager to find out more about Jesus Christ and Christian teaching. I found passages in the Bible where there are descriptions of what a Christian is like and I found that these descriptions fitted me. So I began to wonder if maybe I was a Christian after all and I went through periods of of being sure I was a Christian and periods when I seriously doubted it.
This went on until last Summer when I went to a conference in Aberystwyth. During that conference Stuart Olyott lead a seminar on ‘When is a Christian not a Christian?’ discussing the matter of assurance. He spoke of people who think they are Christians but who are not and people who think they are Christians but who are not sure. It was during this seminar that I realised that I was in the second group and found assurance and knew in my heart that I had been saved through the blood of Jesus.
Gary Brady, London.
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