Becoming a good athlete … doing well at school with the security of a job with good pay … alcohol … binge drinking … marijuana … the approval of others? Michael chased these things thinking they would bring him lasting satisfaction and fulfilment but one night he came to the point where he realized there were two ways to live.
Maybe sport was the answer?
My whole life was spent trying to find things that could satisfy me. I chased things that infatuated me and tried to be the best at them. I thought that if I was really good at something then I would be happy and fulfilled. Initially I focused on trying to be the best sportsman. In High School I raced BMX bikes and in 2002 I went to the National Titles in Tasmania. I thought if I made the final (top eight) of my division I would find satisfaction. I ended up coming second but there was still this empty hole inside of me.
Was a job with good money the answer?
I then turned my focus to school work and thought if I worked hard, got a job earning good money I would be truly happy. I ended up doing a lot better than I ever imagined I would. (On a scale of 25, I obtained the second highest score.) But I was still unsatisfied and knew that all the money would never fill the hole inside me.
Things that ‘eat you up’
Then I turned to more destructive things to fill this ever-growing emptiness inside of me. I looked to alcohol and marijuana to feed my hunger but these things never brought lasting satisfaction. From personal experience I know that chasing after these things will only ‘eat you up’ and in the process you are destroyed on the inside. If at the moment you are looking to alcohol or drugs to satisfy then you are bound for disappointment.
Binge drinking … ‘One drink away from never waking up’
On my 18th birthday I went out with a bunch of friends and after binge drinking for a number of hours I ended up coming home in the back of an ambulance. My Blood Alcohol Content was 0.34. The doctors told me that ‘I was within one standard drink of not ever waking up’. Through all of this I was trying to lay my securities in people and in trying to gain acceptance from my friends and peers. Little did I know, through this time of struggle, that God was preparing my heart for the biggest acceptance of the best friend I could ever have … Jesus Christ.
Getting to the bottom of my list
About half way through my second year of University I was in a pretty bad spot in my life and it had been gradually getting worse for quite sometime. I could see I was coming to the end of the list of things I thought could satisfy me. I was fast running out of ideas! This is when I realized that there was something huge missing from my life … something that wasn’t as simple being popular, having money or achieving a result. I even got to the point where there were thoughts of, “What am I doing here?” and “Is there any point to me staying?”
Influence of Christian friends and my father
I started having Christian friends and they showed a genuine interest and sincere love when I needed it the most. I could see different things in these kids that were not present in the other guys and girls around me. Also I started to take notice of all the things that my father was passing my way … words of wisdom and encouragement, books, stories of changed lives and scientific evidence against evolution and for the existence of a Creator.
Read ‘The Evolutionist’s Sad Story‘ (Poem by Michael’s Grandmother)
Two Ways To Live … the night of decision
One night I was sitting in my college room with a friend who lived across the hall and with one of the ministry campus workers. They shared the facts of the Gospel with me, through ‘Two Ways To Live’. The Gospel is the good news that my sins can be forgiven if I place my trust in Jesus. I had always understood the major points of the bible and if someone had asked me if I thought they were true I would have said ‘yes’. But my acknowledging the bible in this way had no implications with regards to the way that I lived, thought or related to people.
We are restless until …
This night I came to realize that although I had acknowledged the basics of the bible to be true I was throwing them back in the face of Christ by not giving everything to Him. The bible says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36). I knew by the way that I had acted I had rejected Christ and what He had done for me when He died on the cross. That night I prayed a prayer of repentance and asked for God’s help so that I could live my life for Him.
“You made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” (Saint Augustine) 1
Not the man I used to be
Since knowing Christ, my relationships with other people have improved. Before I found it hard to have real concern for other people but now my attitude is slowly changing and I am becoming more and more of a person who enjoys hanging around and helping others. I’d be lying to say here that I don’t have worldly desires anymore; but these desires are slowly being overtaken by the love of Christ in my life because as the bible says “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6. N.I.V.).
“I may not yet be the man I should be or the man, with Christ’s help, I someday will be – but thank God I’m not the man I used to be!” (Martin Luther King Jr.) 2
1 Taken for the book “The Confessions of Saint Augustine” by Saint Augustine, Whitaker House, U.S.A., 1996, page 11.
2 Taken from the book “The Case For Christ” by Lee Strobel, published by Zondervan , Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 364..
THOUGHTS FROM MICHAEL’S FATHER
The day of Michael’s 18th birthday – 27 May 2003
Those of us who were close to Michael did not have a good feeling about the ‘celebration’ that was going to take place on the night of Michael’s 18th birthday … there was a feeling of imminent danger. This was confirmed when our daughter who was with her brother on this ‘celebration’ awoke my wife and I with a call from her mobile phone at 11:45 p.m.
My daughter (weeping and in great distress): “Michael is on the ground and I don’t know if he’s breathing.”
The ambulance was called and Michael (who was breathing) was taken to hospital with very high levels of alcohol in his blood. As Michael mentioned the medical staff told him he ‘was within one standard drink of not ever waking up’.
As I look back on this event and the things that have happened over the years, tears of joy well up inside me as I think on the faithfulness of God …the mercy of God … the grace of God. I also think for the faithfulness of my daughter in staying with her brother all night as she sensed danger coming. Someone asked her during the night on Michael’s 18th birthday, “Where are you going now?” My daughter replied, “Wherever my brother goes!” Had Michael gone home to ‘sleep it off’ or fallen down drunk somewhere the outcome may have been completely different.
So to all those of you who have encouraged us, laughed with us, cried with us, guided us, prayed for us or just having been there for us … thank you!