God gave me "A Future with Hope".
I have lived a HOPE filled life since 11.00 PM on Friday 10th April 1959. That was the night my life was changed for good, forever, after several years of traumatic experiences, including the sudden death of my wonderful father when I was still only 12 years of age.
Added to this grief, was the great sense of loss I experienced when our small farm was sold. It seemed that everything I had loved was suddenly taken away, and it was hard for me as a young boy to see my donkey and even my dog being taken away.
Five years later, at the age of 17, I was still grieving over the sudden death of my father and was so very unhappy at home with my Mother by adoption, in Ballygawley, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, that I ran away to England, not only to try and escape all the things that made me so unhappy, but to try and begin a new life.
This new life was to take me into the Army and the Royal Engineer's Regiment at Aldershot in Hampshire, but very soon, this new life became even more painful than the old life back in Northern Ireland. Whilst on a weekend leave from the Army, I discovered that the young lady to whom I was engaged to be married, did not love me any more, and our engagement was broken off.
This stirred up all the previous grief that I had struggled with in the past following the loss of my father.
I was so devastated by what had happened, and it hurt so much to be alone, that I came to believe that I just could not carry on living the way I was, life seemed to be so very painful and pointless and I felt nobody really cared about me and nobody loved me, the pain of rejection was horrible. I knew about God from Sunday School and Church, but I did not know Him, I had religion without a relationship, so I never thought of crying out to Him for help.
Instead, I attempted to end my life by swallowing a handful of tablets with the help of alcohol.
I have read - "We can live for 40 days without food, 8 days without water, 4-6 minutes without air, but ONLY SECONDS without HOPE."
I was introduced to hope by John, a member of the Parachute Regiment, he contacted me in the Bar of the NAAFI Club in Aldershot, just a few days after my suicide attempt. John introduced me to a living God that loved me, a God that could give me HOPE and a NEW LIFE, a God that would never leave me nor forsake me and a God that could heal my broken heart. After a brief discussion, John and I left the Club and walked for about ten minutes, then we prayed together in Holy Trinity Church, in Victoria Road Aldershot. This was part of my prayer - "Oh God if you can heal my broken heart and dry my tears and give me hope, I'll go to the Nations of the world to tell them of the hope you have given to me."
Suddenly, I felt as if someone was hugging me and the hug felt so good, as I relaxed in the unseen arms, for my tear filled eyes were tightly closed, I felt all the pain and grief, also all the hopelessness and blackness drain from my life and in it's place flowed a river of life, joy and peace.
I got up from my knees that night, a changed man, as I began my personal relationship with Jesus, I had been born again and from that moment on, I would have the life of Christ inside of me. I had been taken out of the kingdom of darkness and was now a citizen in the kingdom of God's dear Son.
Rev Jim Patterson