I was a lost child. Despite being raised in a catholic background, church and school, I entirely failed to connect with Jesus and as a result my life lacked sincere purpose.
When I arrived to uni I felt a desire to explore my faith, but I never followed through due to the buzz of first year. However, God had other plans and placed two Christian girls in my UEA halls. They were so loving and kind that when one of the girls invited me to church I said yes, even though I would have called myself an atheist. The way in which these girls were ambassadors of Christ showed me a way of life I desired and wanted to hear more about.
In Soul Church and Christian Union, God opened my eyes to his unconditional love through the amazing people that welcomed me as soon as I walked through the doors. A few weeks of CU and church was enough to convince me to give my life to God. When I heard Amazing Grace being sung I burst into tears and the Holy Spirit filled me and raised me up from the ashes. I felt forgiven, I felt loved, I felt like I could start a new and amazing chapter of my life.
Being a part of CU was a strong foundation to which I could build my new found faith upon. Being surrounded by Christians who were also my peers was phenomenally encouraging – seeing their passion for the gospel spoke to me so strongly. The CU mission statement of allowing everyone on campus to hear the gospel was something that scared me at first, but I slowly realised that people need to be given the opportunity to hear and respond to this amazing news like I did.
I always say that God threw me in the deep end, as despite my laid back personality I’m now serving at church and on the CU committee, but God has always been there for me, keeping me aloft.
Sometimes if I’m ever overwhelmed by these complete changes in my life I remember Isaiah 41:10 – ‘So do not worry, because I am with you. Don’t be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you’. This verse was one of the first I ever read and has calmed and encouraged me countless times.
Sharing my story has never been easy because it’s all so new to me, but I’ve come to realise that the power and grace of Jesus’ love reaches so far and so wide and can reach the utterly lost. If God can use the way he worked and changed my life to help reach others then it’s so worth sharing my story. God has opened so many doors and walked through them with me, always by my side, always blessing me countless times. God has given me an aim in life, a vision and a purpose, and the realisation that Jesus is not temporary, not half hearted, but he is permanent, and he is always there for us.
- Joseph Cobb, Third Year, Film and History