Truth be told most of what I post here on this blog is aimed at people who have been going to church a long time but this time around I wanted to share something that anyone can read. I want to share my story of meeting Jesus. I know there are lots of misunderstandings of what that means and what it looks like, so I wanted to share my story in the hope of shedding light on some of those misconceptions.

I was born into a family who were strongly Christian and I grew up going to church. In fact, my family were Christian missionaries in Africa and much of my childhood was spent roaming savannah and forest with my African friends. I was also homeschooled. If you’ve seen the movie Mean Girls, the first 5ish minutes…that was my childhood (from a male perspective). LOL. The rest of that movie…not so much…haha. But though I grew up in a deeply committed Christian family it wasn’t until I was 19 that I would say I was really a Christian. So here’s what I mean by that…

By the time I was 19 I was completely broken – my life was a wreck. We had come back to Australia when I was 13 and I had terrible culture shock. I remember stepping off the plane in Brisbane and, at first, not being able to understand what people were saying because the accent was so strong. By 19 I was struggling with a chronic illness, my family relationships were broken, I was suffering with depression and I was incapable of having proper friendships. It was at that point, one night while in hospital, that Jesus came to me (a presence, not in bodily form). He filled my heart with such love and peace right there in that Royal Adelaide hospital bed. He said to me,

“Me dying on the cross was not an event that happened 2000 years ago and has no relevance to your life now. I came to heal the broken hearted and bind up their wounds, to heal your emotional pain (Psalm 147:3). Everything that is broken now I want to fix. Will you follow me and trust me.”

So that night I said yes to giving Him my life. While there are a number f things that are still broken in my life most of the things that I was struggling with that night have been healed – some of them through miraculous circumstances. To be honest, the last 15 years have been the most incredible journey. Before that night I was well on my way to death of some kind, most probably suicide, but since then I have lived a breathtaking adventure full of hope and life and love. There are still hard times of course but Jesus is always close.

And here are a couple of things I learned about following Jesus. Being a Christian is not about going to church and following a bunch of rules and trying to be really good. It’s not a ticket to heaven, a crutch to get through life or an insurance policy for the afterlife. It’s about coming to know a real person named Jesus (who is also God), intimately (John 17:3). He actually wants to be our friend. I know, I know, if you’ve not experienced it, it sounds crazy – like I have an imaginary friend in my head. But the alternatives here are stark: either I have a screw loose or I’m right. And I know that He really does exist and He really can be a friend. The bible calls Him a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

The other thing I’ve learned is that Jesus came for people who are broken (which we all are to some extent). He didn’t come for those people who have everything figured out (which if we’re honest is none of us). And He doesn’t require us to have everything in our lives fixed before He loves us – quite the contrary. There’s not a standard we have to measure up to to get into His good book. In fact, the more broken we are the easier it is for us to know Him because He won’t draw close unless we genuinely ask. The more aware of our need we are the easier it is for us to experience Him. The bible says that He is especially close to those who are broken and struggling (Psalm 34:18).

To be truthful, meeting Jesus was the best thing that ever happened to me and He wants to have a relationship with everyone who does not yet know Him. That’s why Christians share about Jesus – because it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to them. A part of real love is that it compels the one experiencing it to share it. That’s the reason I write this post and actually this whole blog. Jesus is the best thing in my life and His love is freely available for all who would ask to know Him.

So if your life is broken and you’re searching for a breakthrough, if you’ve never met Jesus and you’d like to, it’s easy. You just have to ask Him, with a genuine heart, to reveal Himself. Here’s a prayer to pray: Jesus, I know I’ve never met you but if you’re real I’d really like to. Despite my doubts would you reveal yourself and your love for me.

If you pray that prayer with a genuine heart He will answer and it’s always mind-blowing and life changing.

If you did pray that prayer would you reach out to a Christian you know and ask them to tell you more about Jesus and what it means to follow Him? You can always message me here as well.

J. Ratcliffe

Photo by Nathan Cowley from Pexels

One thought

  1. Hey Joel,

    Thanks for sharing your story, really encouraging to hear/read. Blessings to you brother as you do what God has called you to do.

    Like

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