Josh explains how he found answers to his questions
From the age of 16 I started drinking quite heavily and got involved in football hooliganism, which was a dark world fuelled by adrenaline and violence.
I played the part of the big tough guy, but it was just a front. Deep down I was a scared and angry young man. The anger added to the fear, because I didn’t know where it came from, what it might make me do. It made me more vulnerable than I could ever admit to anyone. I found myself in a very, very dark place. My then girlfriend broke up with me out of the blue, which completely took me by surprise. I wasn’t prepared for it and didn’t have any tools to deal with this blow, and so my drinking stepped up massively. In the couple of weeks following I spent thousands on the wrong things, trying to escape my own mind.
More to life?
My friends invited me to watch their son play football. It was a welcome distraction, as I knew that whenever I hung out with them I was sober, due to the kids being around. We started having discussions about faith; I’d always had an inkling that there’s got to be more to life than this. As it happens, there was an Alpha course starting the next week, run by Redeemer King Church in Chesterfield, and I thought, what the heck – it will keep me out of the boozer, it will keep me distracted, and maybe, just maybe, answer some questions I had about life.
So, I turned up for the first week, slightly anxious, but willing. Also, slightly hungover, but at least that night was going to be a sober one. The topic we talked about that night was ‘Is there more to life than this?’ This had me hooked because that was the biggest question in my head. I found myself coming back each week, listening intently, and although I did come armed with questions every time, I found them being answered in conversations before I even had a chance to ask them.
On Sunday the 2nd of December 2018 I went with my friend to church and although I hadn’t bought into the Jesus thing fully yet, I loved it! So many people came up and asked how I was, and a few of the men at church prayed with me. I felt at home.
Back to the pub
Later that day however I had a bad conversation with my ex that sent me spiralling again, so I spent the remainder of that Sunday at the pub, drinking my sorrows away. I spent hours there and only one person spoke to me and that was to ask for a lighter. The next day I felt horrible. The overriding feeling was desperation. I felt I was dying inside and I just wanted to live! I spoke to my friend that day, and she urged me to go to Alpha even though I probably didn’t feel like it. When I came to pick her up, she said I looked like I had a massive thundercloud over my head. But off we went to speak about the resurrection of Jesus. We talked through it, and at the end of it the leader said ‘if you can take this onboard, and believe in it, you may as well go all in’.
So that night, Monday the 3rd of December 2018, I gave my life to Jesus Christ!
A massive difference!
Since then life has been awesome! Before I met Jesus, the doctors told me I was in fairly poor health which, thankfully, is now improving and I’m on the way to fully recovering.
Now I’ve got hope for the future. One night after I became a Christian, I dreamt I was a football manager trying to sign a player called Jeremiah, but he would only play in the number 29 or 11 shirts. This dream happened a few times, and as soon as I woke up I was instantly drawn to read the passage from the Bible Jeremiah 29:11 which says ‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’
I’ve now experienced what it’s like to live life to the full. I’ve got a completely new set of tools to deal with the harder days in life. I’m so passionate about sharing what I’ve learned about Jesus Christ with people, because it’s made such a real tangible difference in my life. My life used to be like going down a spiral staircase of drink, drugs, shame and regret, and now my direction has changed and I’m in an upwards spiral heading towards heaven and my life is now full of thanksgiving, prayer, joy and worship. What a massive difference!