Diana's Testimony

My journey to faith started when I was very young. My parents did not attend church, but they wanted me to have a Christian education, so when I was 4 years old I was sent to Crusaders, an evangelical organisation which has now been renamed Urban Saints.  I especially loved the hymns and songs. One of my favourite hymns at that time was 'There is a Green Hill Far Away.' It contains the words about Jesus: 'He died that we might be forgiven, he died to make us good, that we might go at last to Heaven, saved by his precious blood'.  I sang those words easily enough and believed them to be true, but as a child I didn't fully understand the seriousness of my sin and the enormity of what Jesus had done on the cross. Nevertheless,  I was very drawn to him.   When I was aged 10, I left Crusaders, telling my parents that I wanted to attend church with my older sister instead. I went to church a few times but it didn't last. 

A significant moment came one day, when my older brother started to tell me about the universe and how vast it was.   I was so very disappointed as my first thought was that if we are but tiny specks on a tiny rock spinning around in one of a hundred million galaxies, why would God be bothered with us? But I felt a prompting that I was wrong to think that way. The Psalms say, ‘He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them’ (Psalm 147:4). With God, no person is inconsequential. He knows each of us by name.   Jesus said ‘and even the very hairs of your head are all numbered’ (Matthew10:30). Disappointment gave way to a feeling of awe and amazement.  God created us to know him and love him and he gave us a hint of what he is like — the universe. 

But it was when I was 13 I had an encounter with Jesus Christ which brought about a huge change in my life.  At school, I was very good at sports but completely hopeless academically. I was regularly coming second to bottom in class.  I developed exam phobia. As exams approached, I became increasingly anxious, distressed and unable to sleep.  In desperation one sleepless night, in tears, I cried out to the Lord for help. A deep peace swept over me, the like of which I had never felt before. It took me totally by surprise. Philippians 4:5-7 says 'The Lord is at hand.  Have no anxiety, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.'  I wondered whether the peace I experienced would pass. However, when I awoke the next morning I was overwhelmed by an inexplicable joy and I was acutely aware of God’s presence. Being in his presence and seeking his guidance were now much more important than exams.  It wasn’t long before the Lord gently began to deal with my outward and inward sins and attitudes.  I was beginning to change and find peace with God as I trusted in Christ.

I lost my exam phobia, did a reasonable amount of revision for the exams and prayed that I would do just a little bit better. I had no high expectations.  I will never forget the day when the teacher read out the results of class position following the exams. My name came top!  Jaws dropped, there were gasps and the whole class turned around to look at me in disbelief.  It is amazing how the Lord can turn your life around and do what seems impossible.  

My family moved north that summer.  On the first day at my new school I made a new friend who lived on the same street and I soon found out that she attended Crusaders. Coincidence? I don't believe so.  It seemed obvious that God was leading me to return to Crusaders where I could be fed and nurtured.  Through Crusaders I developed a love for the Bible, a book which has never ceased to encourage, convict, inspire and challenge me. When I outgrew Crusaders, I was confirmed in the Anglican Church and a couple of years later I was baptised full immersion.

Being a Christian brings many blessings but it does not mean a sinless or trouble-free life.  Nor does it mean that every prayer will be answered as we would like. Over the years I have had sorrows as well as joys; I have had to face all sorts of trials including family tragedy, injury and cancer, but Jesus has gone through the worst of horrors, pain, humiliation, despair and death on our behalf, so he can personally relate to all our struggles, provide relief from our stress, set us free from sin and shame and enable us to endure life’s storms. To Him be the glory forever.