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David Pickering

David Pickering

David Pickering

David’s Testimony on how he became a Christian: If you had asked me, as a young boy/man, about whether I believed in God I would have said “Yes” without hesitation. If you had asked me who God was, what did he do or whether he had any impact on my life I would have given a resounding “No”. I went to Sunday School with my brother and sister (probably to give my mum some respite!). I even joined a church choir (for those who have heard me sing the choirmaster must have been tone deaf or not had his hearing aid working because I passed a solo audition)! So every week there I was singing hymns and anthems to a God I believed in but knew nothing about. All this stopped when I reached 14 and was asked if I would attend confirmation classes (as it was considered the normal thing to do). Although I thought I believed in God I realised that there was no real belief to confirm and so I stopped going to church altogether. Three years later I went out with a girl who just happened to sing in the choir at another church. I dutifully went with her to church even though it was very boring, especially the sermon (like the “Mr. Bean” episode!). Then one Sunday everything changed. A friend of my girlfriend asked her to go to Measham Baptist Church for an evening service, so of course I went along too. It was so different to the formal church services I used to attend. The singing was vibrant, the people were friendly, the sermon was interesting, the pastor/minister radiated love and joy; and most surprisingly there were lots of young people in the congregation. Even more surprising was that these young people went to another meeting after the service where they had tea/coffee, biscuits, had a chat, sang songs and studied the Bible - and amazingly they were happy to do so! I was thinking “Why aren’t they out at the pub, or club or the cinema or anywhere but church”! Even though I had everything a young man could wish for e.g. nice car, good job, lovely girlfriend, etc. they had something different. As I attended the church over the months and years I found out that the difference was that they had “Jesus in their lives” and I didn’t. Through hearing God’s word, the Bible (which previously I thought was an old, boring and completely irrelevant book) it suddenly came “alive” and relevant. Through hearing God’s word, preached faithfully and accurately, I found out that true Christianity was about God making himself known through his son Jesus, who died on a cross to pay the penalty for my sin (all the bad things that I had said, done and thought - even though on the surface I was a “nice” young man e.g. never got into trouble, never got drunk, never smoked or took drugs, never had casual relationships, etc.). But by God’s standards and not by my or anybody else’s standards, I was a “sinner” who needed saving from the consequences of my sin i.e. separation from God when I die.

So I prayed that Jesus would come into my life in a very real and personal way and that is what happened, nearly 50 years ago now. And God has been with me through the good times and the bad times. He never promised me that by belonging to him he would protect me from all the bad things that can happen in this life (otherwise the churches would be full every week i.e. the church noticeboard could display a poster “Get your insurance policy from all life’s sufferings here for free” - but the church would be full for the wrong reasons). But God does promise to be with me through everything. And I have found that to be absolutely true. For example: - When I was about 20 I was working in a computer department where someone was giving me a very hard time (probably be classified as “workplace bullying” today). As I was travelling to work for a midnight shift I was not looking forward to the thought of what lay ahead. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with a deep sense of peace from God and was no longer apprehensive about going into work (and those who I worked with seemed to notice it as well). - About a year later came the opportunity I had been longing for to move into the department that I always wanted to go into (computer programming). However I was not one of the three that were chosen - I was devastated. As I came to my Bible reading that night I thought how is God going to speak to me from the Book of Revelation (which for any Christian is really hard to understand). I was so distressed at missing the opportunity to “escape” that I was crying (which I hardly ever do!). But God spoke to me in a really wonderful way through this verse (Rev. Ch. 21v4) “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away”. My tears stopped, God in his love and care wiped them away. - Six months later I did “escape” and joined the programming department. Sometime later the person who had given me so much grief came to me and said “I wish I had the faith that you have”. A few years later he died while only in his early forties. I just pray that the extra six months I had to endure, during which time there were opportunities to talk to individuals about my faith in Jesus, helped this young man to find that faith. Though not necessarily in the time I have wanted things to happen I have found that God’s timing in all situations and circumstances is always right. Over the years many things, both good and bad, have happened to me. I hope that I have learned to thank God in the good times and trust him in the bad times, though still being the sinful person that I am I have often failed - but there is always his forgiveness at hand when I say sorry to him.

Three years ago I had an appointment with a urologist. She announced that she had some bad news and some good news for me (sounded like one of those dreadful jokes you hear!). The bad news was that I had prostate cancer, the good news was that it was only “moderately aggressive” (which meant that no treatment would be given but I would be kept under “active surveillance”, meaning a check-up every six months). The urologist commented on how calm I had took the news. I replied that I believed that God was in control of my life (i.e. that he would support me). She made no reply. The cancer is still there but not causing any problems at the moment. After I began writing this testimony things have changed somewhat dramatically. I have just come out of Derby Royal Hospital having been admitted for losing feeling in my left arm and developing a limp in my left leg. When I arrived at the Accident & Emergency Department my blood pressure was measured at 238/128 (compared to what might be considered as normal for a person of my age of roughly 140/80). This put me at a very high risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. The first thoughts were that I had had a stroke but after a CT scan this was ruled out. The worst part of my experience was when I was told in the early hours of the next morning that I had cancer in the brain (as the scan showed three lesions/tumours thought to be secondary cancers). I couldn’t get to sleep and was quite tearful, not crying for me but for how I would manage to tell my wife Janet and the children - so many scenarios of how to break the bad news went through my mind. The next morning another doctor said that they were not sure if it was cancer which put my mind at rest (and God stopped those tears again). Whilst In the hospital I also had a seizure which convulsed my body. I love going on the twisting, upside-down, bone shaking rollercoaster rides at the theme parks but this was something quite different! For a brief moment I thought it was going to be the end of me when my breathing became laboured and my eyes started to close - and then the anti-seizure drug stepped in (as I believe God stepped in). But despite multiple scans and tests (two CT scans, one full MRl scan, a dermatology appointment looking for skin cancer and a colonoscopy looking for colon/bowel cancer) they could not find conclusive proof as to where the primary cancer is/has originated from. They have all come back clear so one of the now six tumours on the brain will be the primary source. My operation to remove the right-sided tumour is scheduled for 29th April at the Neurology Department at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham.

The doctors may not know certain things at the moment but I know one thing for certain: throughout all of this I have been wonderfully sustained by a trust in God’s care and love for me, and also through the multitude of thoughts, messages, cards, phone calls and prayers of my family, my Christian family, friends and neighbours, and also not forgetting the wonderful care of staff in Ward 410 at the Derby Royal Hospital. Since becoming a Christian I have answers to life’s big questions: - Where did I come from? God designed and made me in his spiritual image as well as given me life as a physical person - What is my purpose in life? To enjoy God and to serve him, as well as looking after my family and friends and all those I come into contact with - What happens when I die? I will go to live with God in his Heaven for eternity. In the Book of Job (Ch. 14v5) it states “A person’s days are determined; you (God) have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed”. I love to “sing” this old hymn (see earlier qualification about my singing!): 1st verse: I do not know what lies ahead, The way I cannot see; Yet One stands near to be my guide, He'll show the way to me: Chorus: I know Who holds the future, And He'll guide me with his hand. With God things don't just happen; everything by Him is planned. So as I face tomorrow, With its problems large and small, I’ll trust the God of miracles, Give to Him my all”. 2nd verse: I do not know how many days 0f life are mine to spend; But One who knows and cares for me Will keep me to the end: ……. In his letter to the church at Philippi St. Paul wrote “For me to live is Christ, to die is gain” (Ch. 1 v 21), meaning that while he is alive he wants to tell everyone about Jesus. But when he dies the spiritual side of him goes to be with God in Heaven because God is Spirit and he made Paul in his image (spiritual likeness) as he made each one of us too. So for a true Christian life or death is a “win/win” situation (though not so good for loved ones). Whatever the future holds I lay my life in God’s hands.

Thank you for reading this and if you have any questions or have found a desire to know more about the God that reveals himself in Jesus then please contact me on 07484 120906, or 11 Stanley Close, Netherseal, Swadlincote, Derbyshire, DE12 8BW.

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