Biker Chris’s bumpy road to faith

February 25, 2017

When an eagle flew outside his prison window Chris Roby knew God had found him.



Mum loved to drink, smoke and party and I was just like her. I left school at 14 and hung around the bowling alley, roamed the streets at night and slept where I could. 

I thought drinking and taking drugs was cool, and it gave me confidence. I loved it. I became a regular at the pub, got into trouble with the law and took harder drugs—I had a syringe hanging out of my arm at 15.

As the years went by I spent most of my life around bikers: that was where I felt most comfortable because they understood me. I ran away from Sydney and took the local barmaid with me. 

All I owned was a rusty old Ford, an unregistered trailer with a 3.6 m tinny on it, a mattress strapped to the roof, two bull terriers and my motorcycle magazine collection. I felt hopeless, but somehow thought things would get better.

Years passed and that barmaid looked after and cared for me through hard times—she stood by me.

I was on bail, living in my car, when I turned up drunk at the Sawtell AA meeting. I was welcomed and a kind man told me I could get a feed at The Salvation Army on Wednesday night. I turned up there drunk and met Major Steve Metcher who prayed for me and cared about me when I didn’t care about myself. 

He challenged me to pour out my grog, and somehow I did—all my beer and a bottle of wine went down the stairs of the church car park. Praise God I haven’t had alcohol since that day—6 May 2009. 

Major Steve never gave up on me. I had to face charges in court and was sentenced to six months jail.

For the first time I was on my knees and prayed “Please God, help me”. An eagle flew close to my window and hovered—I believe it was a spiritual awakening, sent to me in prison. A man who was a bit like me invited me to the prison chapel. 

We got on well and went to chapel twice a week where there was coffee and cake. I began to feel comfortable there, with those caring Christians who sang songs and prayed for us and gave loving hugs. I read the Bible for the first time in more than 30 years and I felt peace in my life. I had a spring in my step and would walk about whistling. 

Two months later my appeal in the district court was granted after a long heart-to-heart with the judge. Majors Steve and Julia never stopped being there for me. They paid for a bed at Adele House Rehab straight after prison. I worshipped each Wednesday at the Salvos and for the first time in my life I surrendered all my bravado and bad behaviour. I was born again, willing to do whatever it takes. 

I gradually rejoined the community and that barmaid took me back, God bless her. We both love worshipping at The Salvation Army. I know it’s God’s grace that has saved me and I thank him every day. I love my AA meetings which I go to several times a week to give back what was freely given to me. The Salvation Army is our second home and family, and I am the happiest I have ever been.

I married that barmaid in May 2011. After two years clean and sober, I enrolled as a senior soldier in May 2011 and my wife enrolled a year later. I have recently been accepted into TSA-MM (The Salvation Army Motorcycle Ministry.) Motorcycles have been my passion all of my life and I have sworn to serve the motorcycle community for Jesus. 

Only through hindsight can I see that God has been there all along, I just needed the key to the door.


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Vol. 139, No. 14 // 11 April 2020

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