It's nine and a half years since I left school. It's also nine and a half years since I became a Christian. The later happening somewhere between my last A-level exam and getting the results. And last week someone I went to school with walked back into my life. The last time he and I spoke I wasn't a Christian, and I don't really know where he stood back then (may a seventh day adventist??) The last decade has been a long time... and a lot has changed. Back then I didn't know what the grace of God was. I didn't know that the cross was important. Now I know I can't live without the grace that comes through the cross.
Easy for me to forget that. The change in my life in the summer of 1997 was probably not very obvious at the time. I was already a church goer before that, and superficially nice enough... though the heart was seriously dark. Becoming a Christian was something that happened privately for me - a weekend home alone in which I sat down and faced up to who I am, and who my God is. The only people with me that weekend were the dead guys who wrote the Anglican liturgy that taught me the gospel... add to that a childhood of unexplained Bible readings every Sunday morning, and the evidence of changed lives in a few people I knew.
Intelligence didn't save me... I should have worked it out sooner. Spiritual interest didn't save me... my interest was on the wane throughout my mid-teens. The only reason anything changed that summer was that God broke into my life and showed me that the grace of God at the cross of Christ was the only ground on which I could ever stand. My heart remains fickle, but the ground has never moved. A decade is a long time but what Jesus did is enough to stand on, not just for a decade... the cross is what we'll sing about for all eternity. And that wont even begin to do justice to quite how brilliant God's great salvation plan is.
I've spent the last few days reflecting on the hebel in life. The meaningless. The futility. The emptiness. Jesus hasn't taken away the boredom or the humdrum of life. He's stepped into it. Into history. Into geography. And into my life. Right inside it. And what? Life still sucks some of the time. It's still even dull some of the time. But it's also laced with sparks of life and vitality... and one day the darkness will be fully overcome by light and that's going to be quite a day. Reflecting on my Christian life it's easy to get introspective, but actually the best thing is to get outrospective (?) and fix my head, heart and everything else on the greatest thing that ever happened in history. Not the bit about me. The stuff about Him.