It was the summer of ’69. I was twelve years old. For the first time in my life I attended a summer camp. During that week under canvas I met Jesus for the first time. Back in the summer of ’69. Those days at camp were not the best days of my life, but they were life changing. I can still remember the overwhelming joy. When Jesus held my hand I knew it was now or never. I could say yes, or I could walk away. There wasn’t really a choice. He was in love with me and I was in love with Him.
He explained that when you love someone you’ll do anything. Crazy things that cannot be explained. When you love someone you feel it deep inside – and I did. He became the only thing I wanted. It lasted most of the summer of ’69, but then reality kicked back in. The summer ended and school beckoned. But a journey had begun.
The next time Jesus showed up in my life was in 1974. I was part way through six months of block release at college, having just spent nine months at sea. In reality Jesus had always been there right beside me; I had just chosen to ignore Him. But in 1974 Jesus stepped into my path in the shape of a little Baptist Church in South Shields. I saw Jesus clearly in the faces of the people in that church and I wanted Him in mine. In March 1974 I was baptised. Then I went back to sea, and once again found myself forgetting that He was there.
It is a fact that while some people walk the straight and narrow, some walk the rocky road. Some get the silver spoon and some get the heavy load. For me it seems as if my journey with Jesus has involved the rocky road and the heavy load. Perhaps more for Him than for me, because He has walked it with me. There have been high points on the journey and there have been low points. Along the way I have learned that everything He has done, He has done for me. I haven’t understood it all, but when I look into His eyes, I realise what I mean to Him.
The last few years of the journey have been special ones. Fourteen years ago I started to write it down in daily journals. Jesus now seems closer to me than He has ever been. He has always been right there for me. When I fail, when it all goes wrong, when it gets too much and I know that I need to feel His touch – I run to Him. He is always there. While it is always me that needs to be forgiven it is almost as if it is Jesus who is apologising: “Please forgive me, I can’t stop loving you (despite the pain you put me through).”Look into my eyes – You will see, What you mean to me, Search your heart – Search your soul, And when you find me there, You’ll search no more. Everything I do, I do it for you
Lyrics taken from the following songs by Bryan Adams:
- Summer of ‘69
- When You Love Someone
- A Little Love
- Everything I Do
- Run To You
- Please Forgive Me